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The security environment around Japan has become increasingly tense with North Korea’s continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, as well as China’s rising power and expansionary military strategy without transparency. In such a situation, the Defense Ministry and Self-Defense Forces must secure highly qualified personnel who can respond to diversified and internationalized missions.

However, despite rising expectations from the public for the ministry and the SDF, the recruitment of uniformed personnel has been a serious challenge. In fact, as of March 31, 2018, the number of authorized positions for uniformed SDF personnel was 247,154, while the actual number was 226,789, a gap of about 20,000 people and a staffing rate of 91.8 percent.

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