Most Powerful Military Forces in Southern and Eastern Asia
While Japan’s post world war two constitution explicitly prohibits the establishment of an offensive military, thereby tripling its ability to start a war, it doesn’t completely prohibit it from defending itself – ergo the Japan Self Defense Force.
Despite this lack of an offensive military, Japan maintains 247,157 active personnel and 63,300 in reserve, which isn’t much in the grand scheme of land army, but with a budget of $47.3 billion, Japan holds the eighth spot for highest military budget in the world, and second highest amongst East Asian countries.
What does it do with all this cash? In 2018, Shinzo Abe held a parade where it displayed its rather impressive collection of anti-submarines, 37 27,000-ton helicopter destroyers, F-35 stealth fighters, rocket projectors, combat tanks and troops that place it at a respectable 6th position worldwide in the power index ranking. This toothless tiger also has a ground, counter-terrorism special forces unit known as the special forces Group and is known to occasionally send its troops on peacekeeping missions (with Iraq being the most recent).
Why does it spend so much on its military if it has no plans to start world war 3? Two syllables. China. Sino-Japanese relations have always been uneasy, from imperialism way back when to being opponents during the second world war. Recent tensions between the two countries over the Senkaku islands and Japan’s increased cooperation with the US have further mired their relationship, necessitating better defense efforts on the part of Japan, if it’s to curb China’s attempt at dominance in the region.