Japan's postwar military--known as the Self Defence Forces (SDF)--on Sunday (31 October) staged a massive parade celebrating its 21st anniversary.
Japan's postwar military--known as the Self Defence Forces (SDF)--on Sunday (31 October) staged a massive parade celebrating its 21st anniversary. Prime Minister Eisaku Sato took the salute at a march-past of more than 4,000 personnel from infantry, paratrooper, nave and air force units.
A scheduled air force fly-past--climax to previous parades--was cancelled because of public criticism of the air force, following a mid-air collision over northern Japan last July between an SDF fighter and a commercial airliner. 162 people were killed.
The military has also been criticised for its spending, and with a prolonged economic recession facing Japan, the Defence Agency is now cutting its fourth five-year defence build-up by 400-million pounds sterling. Opposition parties and the public have been asking why Japan need to spend so much money for its professed self defence-only needs.
SYNOPSIS: Japan's postwar military--known as the Self Defence Forces, S-D-F--and Prime Minister Eisaku Sato celebrated the forces' twenty-first anniversary, with a massive parade in Tokyo on Sunday. The parade came at a time when there is growing public criticism of military spending and the role of S-D-F in Japanese society.
Led by military bands, more than four-thousand personnel from infantry, paratrooper, navy and air force units took part. An air force fly-pas was cancelled because of public criticism of the air force, following a mid-air collision involving a S-D-F fighter and a commercial airliner, in which one-hindered and sixty-one persons died.
No startling new weapons were on display at Sunday's forty-five minute parade. But the large crowd on hand saw a selection of recoilless rifles, mobile batteries of anti-tank artillery, anti-aircraft batteries, armoured personnel carriers and tanks. Under pressure from public criticism, as well as prolonged economic recession, the Defence Agency is now cutting its proposed fourth five-year defence build-up, due to start next year. Opposition parties and the public have been asking why Japan needs to spend so mush money for its professed self defence-only needs. The Defence Agency cut-back amounts to about four-hundred million pounds sterling.
The Self Defence Force was formed in 1950, first as a police force to free American occupation troops for the Korean conflict. The occupation authority had earlier drafted a constitution prohibiting Japan from having a military force. An unresolved public debated has continued since, as to whether D-D-F is legal.