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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 June 26 - July 2  > Number of members who quit SDF sharply increases
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2024 June 26 - July 2 [SDF]

Number of members who quit SDF sharply increases

July 2, 2024

The number of Self-Defense Forces members who resigned in 2022 increased by 432 from the previous year to 6,174, the largest number of resignations in the last 15 years, Akahata reported on July 2 based on the Defense Ministry’s response to an Akahata inquiry.

According to Akahata, this figure exceeded 5,952 which was marked in 2007 when a surge in resignations occurred after the scope of SDF overseas activities expanded with missions in Iraq and the Indian Ocean.

Of the 432 SDF members, 360 were middle-ranking officers, constituting the majority. This means that due to a shortage of mid-level officers, the SDF is struggling to form full units.

One of major factors which lies behind the rise in the number of SDF members who quit the forces is that under the Kishida government which is promoting the policy of turning Japan into a war-capable nation, front-line SDF personnel are experiencing an excessive increase in duties.

Another factor is that sexual and power harassment runs rampant in the SDF.

Former female SDF member Gonoi Rina’s fight against sexual violence attracted public attention and the SDF came under fire. In reaction, the Ministry of Defense in 2022 conducted a harassment survey. However, only 0.6% of SDF members answered the survey for fear of retaliation and other disadvantages they may be subjected to for reporting harassment. The ministry’s measures to “combat harassment” are actually in name only, which makes front-line SDF members feel like they are on their own without meaningful support.

Past related articles:
> In SDF, harassment increases more than 16-fold [April 12, 2023]
> Ex-female SDF member urges Defense Ministry to hire 3rd-party investigators to probe sexual violence within SDF [August 4, 2022]

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