The Ground Self-Defense Force and Civilian Control



The Japanese military, particularly the Imperial Japanese Army, regularly intervened in politics prior to and during World War II and negatively influenced national affairs by, for example, forcing cabinet resignations. The severe limitations on the authority and involvement of the cabinet and national parliament (known as the Diet, or Kokkai), the civilian bodies expected to control the military, have been given as reasons why the civilian leadership was unable to stop military extremism in the period between the Manchurian Incident in 1931 and the Pacific War. The independence of the Emperor’s command over the military allowed his authority over military operations to be de facto monopolized by the high command (the chiefs of the army and naval general staffs). The organization of the military could not be altered through laws or Imperial edits, but only through military orders countersigned by the army of navy minister.1 Additionally, the requirement that only active duty officers could serve as Minister of the Army or Navy made it possible for the military to determine whether a cabinet would survive.2


Director General Liberal Democratic Party Coalition Government Staff Office Defense Policy 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Policy StudiesDoshisha UniversityKyoto-shiJapan

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