I know their military was defeated in World War II, but do they have an army today? Did Japan ever regain any military force? I'd think they'd at least have a police force.

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    Japan Self-Defense Forces is the VERY FIRST link when you Google for "japan military". – user4012 Apr 21 '14 at 4:20
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    -1 for "I KNOW we got rid of their military in WWII". Please rephrase it to something more neutral like "I know that the US defeated the Japanese military in WWII". I think it sounds very inappropriate to speak of killed humans (who are in military) and use of atomic weapons with lots of civil casualties like this. Also, it seems as if you did not have a look at the wiki article. – Martin Thoma Sep 18 '14 at 17:03

Yes, Japan has a de facto military known as the Japan Self-Defense Forces and they have a Ministry of Defence. Although this is not considered exactly the same as a regular military, since it developed as more of a police force or national guard, it is a relatively formidable conventional army. Japan's military spending is regularly one of the highest in the world in absolute numbers, though is a lower percentage of GDP than many countries.

Various legal, political, and social pressures push Japan to maintain a defense-only strategy for the forces. But Japan has deployed the self-defense forces for various relief efforts around the world. It also relented to US pressure and deployed a limited number of soldiers to Iraq in 2004.

The boundary between "domestic defense & rescue force" and "military armed forces" is to some extent branding and attitude, rather than anything objective. For example, these are members of the Japan 22nd Infantry, on a training mission:

JSDF 22nd Infantry

Those sure look like soldiers, based on the intuitive reaction rather than a formal definition.

Note that Japan's lack of an official military is largely self-imposed and self-maintained. The US wanted Japan to arm up further as a counter-weight to the USSR, then to the PRC. Japan was criticized (unfairly) for not contributing soldiers to Desert Storm, 1991 (though they did cut a substantial check).

Japan does not have nuclear weapons. Although some notables, such as Ichiro Ozawa, have urged development of a nuclear arsenal, this is probably not likely to happen in the foreseeable near-term.

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