May 1947: The Constitution, based on an Occupation-
compiled draft, debuts with the war-renouncing Article 9.
June 1950: The Korean War erupts, and Japan serves as as key supplier of equipment for the U.S. forces fighting there.
July 1950: Gen. Douglas MacArthur tells Japan to form the National Police Reserve, the Self Defense Forces’ predecessor.
September 1951: The U.S. and Japan ink a security pact. Japan regains its independence under the San Francisco Treaty.
July 1954: Japan creates the Defense Agency and SDF.
January 1960: Japan and the U.S. sign a revised security treaty.
November 1978: The bilateral Security Consultative Committee OKs the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. That year, Japan starts providing a so-called sympathy budget to cover peripheral costs of U.S. forces stationed in Japan.
December 1986: Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone scraps the 1 percent of GDP limit on annual defense spending.
January 1991: The Gulf War erupts. Japan donates $9 billion to the multinational force that fought Iraq but comes under criticism for failing to contribute manpower. In April, the government sends minesweepers to the Gulf in the postconflict effort.
June 1992: The Diet enacts peacekeeping law, allowing for SDF troops to engage in U.N.-led peacekeeping missions.
April 1996: Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and U.S. President Bill Clinton announce a redefined bilateral security alliance. The two agree to revise the 1978 guidelines. Both governments sign a new acquisition and cross-serving accord, enabling reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services between the SDF and the U.S. forces.
December 1996: Japan and the U.S. adopt a final report of the SCC’s Special Action Committee on Okinawa, calling for a 20 percent cut in the land used by the U.S. military in Okinawa, return of the Futenma Air Station and construction of a sea-based heliport to take over its functions.
September 1997: The SCC issues a final report on the revision of the 1978 guidelines, under which Japan is to support the U.S. forces in emergencies in “areas surrounding Japan.”
May 1999: Bills covering the guidelines clear the Diet.