The Japanese military is severely limited by Article 9 of constitution that renounces force as a means of settling international disputes and prohibits the creation of an army, navy, and air force. The exact limits of Article 9 is a controversial issue in Japan, but it has been interpreted as allowing for self-defense forces. As a result, Japan's USD $42.6 billion/year budget makes it the fourth largest military spender in the world, after the big three -- Unites Stated, Russia and China. 
Self-Defense Forces numbered about 246,400 in 1992: Ground Self-Defense Force 156,000, Maritime Self-Defense Force 44,400, and Air Self-Defense Force 46,000. Reserves 48,400.
Military branches: Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Army), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Air Force)
Equipment: Ground Self-Defense Force: medium tanks, reconnaissance vehicles, armored personnel carriers, towed and self-propelled howitzers, mortars, single rocket and multiple rocket launchers, air defense guns, surface-to-surface missiles, antitank missiles, fixed-wing aircraft, attack helicopters, and transport helicopters. Maritime Self-Defense Force: submarines, guided missile destroyers, frigates with helicopters, frigates, patrol and coastal combatants, mine warfare ships, amphibious ships, auxiliaries, fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters. Air SelfDefense Force: ground attack aircraft, fighters, reconnaissance aircraft, airborne early warning aircraft, transport aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, air-to-air missiles, and air-defense control and warning units.
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 30,259,247 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 26,139,516 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 771,452 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $42.9 billion (FY98/99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.9% (FY98/99) Japan keeps direct defense expenses at about 1 percent of GNP for political reasons.
Foreign Military Treaty: Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security with United States (1960); can be revoked on one-year's notice by either party and is updated by minutes periodically.
Police Forces: Independent municipal and local police forces, all under supervision of National Police Agency in 1993. National Rural Police at prefectural level.