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Defence JSDF missing recruitment goal by half


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Time to hire mercenaries or set up a Japan Foreign Legion: Japan's Self-Defense Forces faced significant recruitment challenges in fiscal 2023, achieving only 51% of their target due to competition with the private sector and a declining birthrate. They aimed for 19,598 recruits but managed only 9,959, the lowest ever. Fixed-term personnel recruitment was even lower, at around 30% of the goal. To address this, the Defense Ministry plans to enhance compensation and benefits, automate tasks with AI, and involve retired personnel and the private sector.

Japan's Self-Defense Forces

In reality, however, the SDF is suffering a recruitment shortage of around 20,000 below its intended troop strength of around 247,000. Possible factors for the recruiting shortfall include a widely publicized sexual assault incident, other various scandals and a deadly shooting spree involving the SDF. In 2022, former SDF member Rina Gonoi sued three male superiors alleging that they had sexually assaulted her. In June 2023, a Ground SDF cadet is accused of shooting three members of the GSDF during a live-fire training exercise, killing two of them and injuring one. After Gonoi's accusation, the Defense Ministry conducted a special defense inspection of sexual harassment covering all SDF members. Subsequently, the ministry carried out improvements including raising pay for hazardous duties such as for the crews of destroyers and submarines, and strengthening harassment prevention education. Former Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada called on people to "enter the SDF with high aspirations," but SDF recruiters described the reality saying, "recruitment was extremely terrible."

Paywall alert:
Don't see much about it here in the US on the news , but it seems military and first responders(police) are having a very hard time getting new people.
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