Japan is a Great Military Power Wary of Fighting
Despite a pacifist constitution, Japan has built up a technologically advanced military in all but name. If it grows more independent of the U.S., it may choose not to fight alongside the superpower.
Officially, the Japanese military does not exist. Since the end of World War II, Japan’s constitution has renounced war and even the maintenance of any “war potential.” In reality, Japan has a large and technologically sophisticated military with nearly 250,000 personnel serving in its army, navy, and air force. This institution is called the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and, though inferior in quantity to the U.S. and Chinese militaries, makes Japan the leading regional military power in East Asia after China itself. Japan hosts over 54,000 U.S. troops, almost half of them on Okinawa Island, which sits halfway between Japan and Taiwan and immediately between China and the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. and Japan regularly conduct joint military exercises. In recent years, Japan has ordered more advanced F-35 fighter jets than any country except the U.S. itself.1 Since late 2022, its annual defense spending is planned to grow 65% by 2027.2 And in 2024, Japan will operate its own aircraft carriers for the first time since 1945.