U.S. Marine Corps. Department of Defense photo.

I was rather surprised to see this in the feed this morning. Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Shigeru Ishiba (and former Defense Minister under Junichiro Koizumi) has floated the idea that Japan should create its own version of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“Isn’t there anything Japan can do at a time when it has made the United States (provide Marine functions)?” Ishiba said Sunday on Fuji TV, adding it would be possible for an SDF marine unit and the U.S. Marines on Okinawa to operate together.

That’s what this blog suggested last month in addressing the Futenma issue. If the United States insists on having amphibious troops in East Asia, why doesn’t Japan create its own, and make the American marines redundant? Japanese marines would also have the added benefit of being Japanese, and perhaps more acceptable to the Okinawan public.

The idea of Japan having marines–again–would on the face of it seem to contradict Japan’s ban on offensive weapons and tools of war. Japan had marine troops during the Second World War, which it used in numerous offensive operations. Then again, the article says that the force would “mount amphibious operations to take back islands invaded by foreign troops.” So, they would be strategically/operationally defensive, tactically offensive marines. The idea sounds strange, but I admit that there’s a little American bias in there as my marine corps is the U.S. Marine Corps.

Unsolicited advice for Japan: copy the U.S. Marine Corps all you want, but don’t buy American amphibious ships unless you want to regret it.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch