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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 July 20 - 26  > Number of SDF applicants declines under Abe gov’t
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2016 July 20 - 26 [SDF]

Number of SDF applicants declines under Abe gov’t

July 25, 2016
It has come to light that the number of applicants for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) has continuously declined since Prime Minister Abe Shinzo returned to power in 2012.

This decline seems to be attributed to the Abe Cabinet decision in July 2014 which enables Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense and the enactment of the unconstitutional national security legislation in September 2015.

A Defense Ministry survey shows that the number of applicants decreased from 34,038 in fiscal 2012 to 28,137 in fiscal 2015. During the same period of time, the number of applicants to be non-commissioned officers went down from 34,123 to 25,092.

The defense authorities explain that the fall reflects the falling birthrate and an “improvement” in the country’s employment situation. However, one reason for the drop is the enactment of the national security legislation which dramatically expands the role of SDF troops stationed abroad. Under the new legislation, the lives of SDF members will be greatly endangered.

In the meantime, the number of graduates from the National Defense Academy (NDA) who refused to join the SDF has increased three years in a row. Among those who graduated in March 2016, more than 10% chose other career paths.

Last year, several days before the war legislation was forced through the Diet, the Labour Lawyers Association of Japan offered counselling for SDF personnel and their families. A mother of an NDA student said to a counselor, “I wonder if it’s all right to have my son enter the SDF.”

Past related article:
> Defense Ministry discusses ‘economic conscription’ [July 2, 2016]
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