This page offers information about the institutions and activities of Japan's military and defense establishment, with emphasis on changes in capabilies and mission.

Ministry of Defense. The Ministry of Defense English language web page is straightforward and easy to navigate. It includes sections on Ministry organization, Japan’s defense policies, and Ministry events open to the public. It includes useful links to other English language sites that provide information related to Japan’s defense policy. Also helpful are English language translations or summaries of Japan defense-related documents. Note especially the “Defense Policy” and “Publication” links on the left of the page.
The Japan Ground Self Defense Force. The Ground Self Defense Force web page is in Japanese. But the site is highly visual. Emphasis seems to be on photos rather than text. They are nicely presented. I'll check back later on to see if an English page is added. In the meantime click through this Japanese site.
The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. An attractive site with interesting photographs and useful English language information. The heavy reliance on graphics may slow browsers with slower connections. But the wait is worth it. Be sure to click on the Flash window in the center if it doesn't open. It's worth it.
The Japan Air Self Defense Force. Like its Japanese language counterpart, this English language site is rich in useful information, effectively presented. Be certain to click the links in the navigation bars. Information about the organization of the service and each of the regional headquarters provides insight into how Japan deploys its air defense forces.
The Japan Coast Guard. English language information about Japan's Coast Guard presented at several levels. Be sure to click the "Duties of JCG" and "Organization" links for text and photos on those subjects. A new section of material on the dispute over the name of the Japan Sea offers comprehensive information on Japan's position in that debate.
The National Defense Academy of Japan. The English language home page of the National Defense Academy official website is simply presented. Indeed, the casual browser may overlook the considerable amount of English language material contained in its sub-sections. Be sure to click on “Introduction to National Defense Academy in Japan” and explore the sub-links there to useful written materials and photographs on the Defense Academy’s activities.
The Defense Research Center. This government-authorized, privately-funded Center supports research on security issues related to Japan in the global security environment. The Center's focus on the relationship between security strategy and technology makes its output particularly useful, as does the combination of retired military and corporate contributors. The Center's unassuming home page provides links to DRC Annual Reports from 1997 forward. Be sure to check each annual report for valuable English language materials on Japan's defense policies.
The "Japan Military Guide" is only one section of the website. GlobalSecurity.Org describes itself in its mission statement as an advocacy group that, among other things, "…seeks to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and the risk of their use -- both by existing nuclear weapons states and those states seeking to acquire such capabilities." The Japan Military Guide provides an English language overview of Japan's defense strategy, and more specific information on topics as diverse as the defense budget and the organization and functions of the Security Council.
JFSS. Japan Forum for Strategic Studies. JFSS was established in 1999 to develop policy recommendations related to Japan’s political, economic, and technological national strategy. The organization sponsors research projects upon which those recommendations are based, as well as national and international exchanges. JFSS is chaired by Mr. Ryuzou Sejima, a well-known figure in Japan’s international affairs. The Japanese language side of the web page includes quite a number of useful full-text reports and documents. The English language side is limited to contact and structural information, and lists of sponsored activities.
The National Institute for Defense Studies. NIDS is the main policy research organization of the Japan Defense Agency. The English language web site includes a surprising amount of information, and is quite easy to navigate, though it is easy to miss important sections of the site. Be sure to click on the 'Publications,' 'International Exchanges,' 'Dissemination,' and 'Military History' links on the left-hand navigation bar.
The Okazaki Institute. This unassuming English language web site provides links to a long list of Ambassador Hisahiko Okazaki's publications, as well as those of some other commentators on defense affairs. Do not be discouraged by the linear organization of the material. The scrolling required can be worth the effort. Be sure, at least, to visit the 'Projects' section, about half-way down the page, as well as the 'Useful Links' section just under it. An enormous amount of informative English language material on issues related to Japanese defense.
RIPS. Research Institute for Peace and Security. Established in 1978 by Japan’s Defense Agency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, RIPS is dedicated to sponsorship and publication of “research into how best Japan can manage its own security.” In addition to maintenance of this website, RIPS publishes an annual, “Asian Security,” a more frequent newsletter, and sponsors public lectures and publication of books. Retired University of Tokyo professor, Akio Watanabe, serves as president. Be sure to see the five English language versions and summaries of reports under “Publications>Special Reports,” and information on the Institute’s fellowship program.