The Republic of Japan Armed Forces (Japanese: ﾀﾞｲﾜﾐﾝｺｸｺｸｸﾞ Daiwa Minkoku Kokugun), is the armed forces of Japan, consists of:
- Republic of Japan Army (ﾀﾞｲﾜﾐﾝｺｸﾘｸｸﾞﾝ Daiwa Minkoku Rikugun)
- Republic of Japan Navy (ﾀﾞｲﾜﾐﾝｺｸｶｲｸﾞﾝ Daiwa Minkoku Kaigun)
- Republic of Japan Air Force (ﾀﾞｲﾜﾐﾝｺｸｸｳｸﾞﾝ Daiwa Minkoku Kūgun)
- Japanese Volunteer Corps (ﾀﾞｲﾜﾐﾝｺｸｷﾞﾕｳﾀｲ Daiwa Minkoku Giyūtai)
- Japanese Volunteer Ground Corps (ｷﾞﾕｳﾘｸﾀｲ Giyū Rikutai)
- Japanese Volunteer Maritime Corps (ｷﾞﾕｳｶｲﾀｲ Giyū Kaitai)
- Japanese Volunteer Air Corps (ｷﾞﾕｳｸｳﾀｲ Giyū Kūtai)
Established in 1919 as the military wing of the Revolutionary Government of Japan, the Japanese Armed Forces today is the one of the largest standing armed forces in the world. The Republic of Japan Armed Forces was originally established on January 14, 1919 when the National Congress of Japan tried to organize all revolutionary militias into a unified military command called the Council of National Salvation (ｺｸｷｭｳｲﾝ; 國救院 Kokkyū-in).
The membership of this Council, however, was nominated by the Central Leadership of the Nationalist Party and the list of nominated members was accepted by the National Congress without any true opposition on this. Nagayama Yoshida served as its first chairman, styled as the "Political Commander of the Navy and Army".
The Council of National Salvation shared a similar military doctrine with the military of Imperial Japan, the so-called "Outward Navy, Inward Army". According to this doctrine, the navy was supposed to defend the Fatherland from the foreign invasion, while the army was used to keep the unity of the Empire. In the case of a revolution, the Japanese Navy must keep its neutrality and not choose any warring sides until the winning side has clearly appeared. This notion was well respected both by the Imperial Government and the Nationalist Party during the civil war.
With an initiative from Kita Ikki, the Council of National Salvation was replaced by the Tamiikusa (ﾀﾐｲｸｻ, literally "citizen's army" or "people's army"), following the adoption of Total Revolution program by the National Congress on November 11, 1919. The Total Revolution military program was intended to arm and mobilize the members of pro-revolution trade unions, rural population, university students, volunteers from women organizations and other non-professional military elements into participating in the civil war together with the Nationalist Party and the National Congress.
Unlike its predecessor, the Tamiikusa was clearly and directly subordinate to the Central Leadership of the Nationalist Party along the line of "Party's Army" doctrine. Takabatake Motoyuki, the commander of a Nationalist militia in Nagoya, was appointed as the first Supreme Commander of the Tamiikusa. Kita Ikki stated on his speech in 1919 that the program was intended to create an irregular army as militant as possible to support the Party and the Republic. Thus, the Tamiikusa theoretically was not a regular standing army, but instead was a militia that was trained to fight for the Party's powers and ideals.
The Tamiikusa was first written with the Chinese characters as 大和市民軍 ("Japanese Citizen's Army") in 1919 and later as 大和國民軍 ("Japanese National Army") in 1920 in correspondences with the governments of China, Korea and Manchuria. However, the military institution was known internationally by its native Japanese reading between 1919 and 1946, before known as the Republic of Japan Armed Forces (大和民國國軍 Daiwa Minkoku Koku-gun). Nevertheless, the legacy of the Tamiikusa is still felt among the contemporary Japanese as the present Japanese armed forces is popularly referred as the "Kuniikusa", the native rendition of 國軍 (koku-gun), which means "the state army".
StructureThe Republic of Japan Armed Forces is organized along five military doctrines: traditional "Outward Navy, Inward Army"; "Party's Army" (1919); "Constitutional Army" (1946); and "Proactive Peacekeeping" (1959). By 2011, it is numbered 1,621,079 and reserves numbered 7,149,752. Conscription remains universal for qualified males reaching age 25. In reality, the RJAF only has 570,000 active personnel, while approximately one million personnel and seven million reserves serves under the name of "Japanese Volunteer Corps".
The result has been a unique military system. All personnel who serves under the Volunteer Corps are technically civilians: those in uniform are classified as special civil servants and subordinated to the civil service, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Japan. All Volunteer Corps personnel are adjudicated under normal procedures by civil courts in appropriate jurisdictions. The Japanese armed forces are formally under the command of President of the Republic of Japan. The President of the Republic is the nominal commander-in-chief of Japanese Armed Forces (or as stated in the Constitution, "the political commander of the National Navy, the National Army, and the National Air Force").In the state-level, military authority practically runs from the President to the Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff Council, consisting of the Army (RJA), the Navy (RJN), and the Air Force (RJAF). The Chief of Staff is a 4-star General or Admiral, is the highest-ranking military officer in the Armed Forces and the Operational Authority over the Armed Forces, with directions from the President of the Republic.
In the party-level, the Nationalist Party placed a network of civilian political commissars throughout the armed forces to influence the activities of the military. The political commissar is head of a party cell within the military and responsible to the Nationalist Party leadership. Today, the political commissar is largely responsible for mere administrative tasks such as public relations and counseling, especially in the Japanese Volunteer Corps. The appointment of Joint Staff Council is also decided by the Party Leadership. The Leadership proposes the candidates for the Joint Staff Council membership, so that these people after going through the political processes can be elected by the National Congress to the Joint Staff Council.
To maintain the civilian rule over the military, the military membership in the party has been restricted to the lower ranks since the 1960s. By 2011, there are over 3% of all defense forces personnel and over 80% of all officers in the RJAF also being the members of the Nationalist Party.