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Japan to raise maximum age for new recruits to boost dwindling military ranks


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I went through army basic training at 18, I couldn’t imagine doing it at 32.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Good idea. Lots of strong dudes at 32 and older.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Reminds me of an old take-off of a US Army recruiting poster:

“Join the Army; travel to exotic, distant lands; meet exciting, unusual people and kill them.”

In the LSDF case, I hope this is never used.

Is there a downside to recruiting even fit 32-year olds?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I was probably in better shape at 32 than at 18. At 18 I was stuck indoors studying for exams and barely had the muscle mass to lift a few heavy textbooks. At 32 I had the time and money to join a gym and go jogging. I suspect the same is true for many young people in Japan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan doesn't need a self defense force. If anything goes down it'll be the much better trained, more disciplined and stronger US forces that will come to the rescue.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

It’s 35 for the US Army, so there’s nothing wrong with this idea.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I agree with this change. 18 may be physically better, but at 32 a man is much wiser, and that is what is needed for modern Army. Future wars Japan will fight in will not rely on physical strength, but logistic and planning. Furthermore, Japanese mature physically at an older age than foreigner, and live longer, so for Japanese 32 is actually young.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

18 is in no way whatsoever "physically better" than 32.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Good idea especially in a country like Japan where most/many ppl don't mind being told what to do i.e. there isn't a massive difference between military & civilian life so why not give it a go (especially if you're single, your dating life's nonexistent & you're regularly bossed around the office).

And many/most ppl in their 20s don't know what they really want to do with their life anyway. Good to have the 'stint in the military' option (and others) when you hit your 30s.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

18 is in no way whatsoever "physically better" than 32.

It’s not just the physical part, it is waking up at 430AM everyday 7 days a week to have someone yell at you for 20 hours about your inability to correctly do menial, pointless tasks like folding a bed corner at exactly 45 degrees.

Psychologically it is way easier for a young, 18 year old mind to adopt to that. At 32 I would have gone nuts under that even if I was physically capable of it (I wasn’t).

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Interesting. Would the the guys that are fed up with the "salaryman" life another option.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

About 15 years ago Foreign Affairs magazine ran an issue on the national security implications of the changing demographics around the world.

Some countries in Europe are aging almost as fast as Japan (Italy, Germany, Spain I think were mentioned)

Also Korea was in the mix.

The mag looked at the future personnel pressures on each country's military and possible solutions to those problems. These included expanded roles for females, remote warfare (as in drone ships, planes and tanks)

fiddling with the age of active service personnel (as this article points out) and the role of immigrants in the armed forces.

Both Germany and Italy have very high percentages of 1st generation immigrants serving.

The conclusion that they came to on Japan was bleak.

In 20 or 30 years the country will not be able to field an effective land , sea or air capability because of a shortage of healthy, young, skilled personnel.

I am sure military planners in China and around the world are aware of this analysis.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Heck, just conscript, like they do in their neighbor country South Korea. All males between the ages of 18 and 35 required to perform 2 years of military service. Oh, but, that would present a problem with many of today's young Japanese males...

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Heck, just conscript the 18-35 year old Japanese females! That would strike fear in the hearts of any potential attackers.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

"I am sure military planners in China and around the world are aware of this analysis."

Of course Chinese military planners are well aware that it will be relatively fit Oji-san versus decrepit Waigong!

"China's getting old. In fact, they are getting older faster than anywhere else in the world. And the Chinese government has a very weak safety net to cover for them all.


And there's no guarantee that an 18 year old will be fitter than a 45 year or even some 50 years old; I see in my dojo everyday of the week!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

China does not possess absolute ownership of nuclear weapons; they can also be on the receiving end and it would be over for them too. That's why they will never dare "gamming over" Japan!

Moreover, even backwards Japan can easily build more than a few "game overs" of their own; China would them have no other option but resort to their growing legions of grand-dads, should they decide to break through the Miyako Strait.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Start doing like they do in Korea. Send these lazy little ‘age of entitlement’ video game a manga addicted brats into the military for a year after they finish high school. Show these coddled parasites what life is really about.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@ Do the hustle

''Show these coddled parasites what life is really about.''

Eh...how will sending them to perform in smoke filled live houses full of alcohol and guys/girls to take home for a bizarre one night encounter help the military?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Globe expansion within the Asian Theater of operation necessitates the need for the JSDF having an adequate complement of personnel to provide the necessary Homeland security should the need arise prior to any of its fellow SEATO members coming to it’s aid should the need arise. If age restrictions prevent present recruitment requirements then the age limits need to be adjusted to meet the Nation’s Security Posture. Age is not the only contributing factor — Medical exams including psychological evaluations will determine — Fitness to Serve!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

18 is in no way whatsoever "physically better" than 32.

Scientifically, 18 and the years directly following are closer to a males physical peak. There is a mental aspect to being in the military but as America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has demonstrated physical prowess remains extremely important.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I rather like what some countriies do - if you commit a crime it is prison or army.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

No big deal. For the US Army the max is now 42.

"The maximum age of non-prior service enlistment under Federal Law was 35-years-old. In 2006, the Army asked Congress to raise the age limit to 44-years-old. Congress did not approve this change, but raised the maximum enlistment age from 35 to 42."


Another way besides raising the maximum recruitment age, is Canada's approach:

"Forget the push-ups. Potential recruits no longer need to pass a fitness test to get into the Canadian military.

The news, posted on the Canadian forces' website, means that men under 35 won't have to do 19 push-ups and 19 sit-ups before they are accepted into the military and women under 35 won't have to do nine push-ups and 15 sit-ups."


1 ( +1 / -0 )

I rather like what some countriies do - if you commit a crime it is prison or army.

If you want your military to literally be made up of criminals then I guess it makes sense. If you want a professional force though that is a terrible way of going about it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No need to extend the age range. They need to improve the marketing. Mascots!! A whole new array of mascots, I say!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Good luck with the recruitment drive. At 32 it's still a way off being called a "Dad's Army".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They basically said you won't get a promotion until 32. Do you think this will help with recruitment?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Next I expect them to use temporary hiring agencies.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

AI and robots! That is the solution. Really.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Moreover, even backwards Japan can easily build more than a few "game overs" of their own; 

Large amounts of Plutonium are available as well as the knowledge..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Things have changed since 1975

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How so?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Raising the pay isn't being considered then? Higher salaries = more applicants, guaranteed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maximum age to enlist in various branches of the US military:


US Army 34

Coast Guard 39


US Navy 34

During wartime, the age restrictions have been known to be modified. During World War II, in the US, men up to 64 had to register for the draft, and men up to 44 could enlist.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FizzBitToday  09:03 am JST

How so?

Since Vietnam the Forces became professional as well as the military forces of other NATO members. A volunteer with extreme-right thoughts can stay much easier 'under the radar' than in an army of draftees who are a better reflection of the society than volunteers.

The draftees in 'Full Metal Jacket', one of the best Vietnam movies, were a team indeed.

I was just 'provoking' in the context off a number of post, obvious removed, in the light of a divided nation. A bit shaky as it happens too in the volunteer forces of other NATO members with less divided populations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


It’s not just the physical part, it is waking up at 430AM everyday 7 days a week to have someone yell at you for 20 hours about your inability to correctly do menial, pointless tasks like folding a bed corner at exactly 45 degrees.

You know that's only for about 8 weeks during basic training right? Even then that's an exaggeration.


Federal law says the max age that any branch is allowed to enlist a person at is 42, but each service still sets it's own max. For the US army, it's now 35.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

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