|Minister of Defense of Japan|
|Ministry of Defense|
|Status||Leader and Chief executive|
National Security Council
|Reports to||The Prime Minister|
|Appointer||The Prime Minister|
subject to formal attestation by the Emperor
|Precursor||Director General of the Defense Agency|
|Inaugural holder||Fumio Kyuma|
|Formation||January 9, 2007|
|Deputy||Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense|
The Minister of Defense (防衛大臣, Bōei Daijin), or Bōei-shō (防衛相), is a member of the Japanese cabinet and is the leader and chief executive officer of the Japanese Ministry of Defense, the executive department of the Japanese Armed Forces. The minister of defense’s position of command and authority over the military is second only to that of the Prime Minister of Japan, who is the commander-in-chief. The minister of defense is appointed by the Prime Minister and is a member of the National Security Council. The current Minister of Defense is Nobuo Kishi, who took office on September 16, 2020.
On 26 December 2007, the Government of Japan made the decision to upgrade its Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense in the expectation to have a far-reaching effect on Japan's future military development. The defense policy that has been pursued by Japan is based on the "Basic Policy for National Defense", which was adopted by the Cabinet in May 1957. Japan's main goal of national defense is the prevention of indirect as well as direct aggression from outside enemies.
The Japanese government made the upgrade from the Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense with a ceremony that was attended by then Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and the then-new Minister of Defense Fumio Kyuma. The creation of the Ministry of Defense was in conjunction with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's continued efforts to ensure a stronger image of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). The bill in which to upgrade the Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense was approved by the House of Representatives (lower house) in November 2007, and the House of Councillors (upper house) in mid-December 2007. Minister Kyuma personally attended a session in the House of Councillors and gave a speech after the bill was approved.
In light of the Defense Agency being transformed into the Ministry of Defense, the JSDF was given the responsibilities of international operations, disaster relief and peacekeeping within the overseas locations.
On 11 September 2019, Taro Kono became the first high profile 'prime minister-ready' politician to head the Ministry of Defense. He has the strongest LDP factional backing of any defense minister thus far. His social media following is second only to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He's a leading candidate for post-Abe premiership. Kono previously held the prominent role of foreign minister.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), who does not formally constitute a uniformed military, is the Prime Minister. The Emperor of Japan is a constitutional monarch who does not have political or military authority over the JSDF; that authority rests with the Prime Minister. However, it is important to note that the Emperor formally appoints the Prime Minister to office. The Minister of Defense is responsible for the organization and formulating the national security policy. The budget request is drafted by the Ministry of Finance and making its own legislative proposals to the National Diet.
|Minister of Defense||Term of office||Prime Minister|
|#||Portrait||Name||Took Office||Left Office||Days|
|1||Fumio Kyuma||January 9, 2007||July 4, 2007||176||Shinzō Abe|
|2||Yuriko Koike||July 4, 2007||August 27, 2007||54|
|3||Masahiko Kōmura||August 27, 2007||September 26, 2007||30|
|4||Shigeru Ishiba||September 26, 2007||August 2, 2008||311||Yasuo Fukuda|
|5||Yoshimasa Hayashi||August 2, 2008||September 24, 2008||53|
|6||Yasukazu Hamada||September 24, 2008||September 16, 2009||357||Taro Aso|
|7||Toshimi Kitazawa||September 16, 2009||September 2, 2011||716||Yukio Hatoyama|
|8||Yasuo Ichikawa||September 2, 2011||January 13, 2012||133||Yoshihiko Noda|
|9||Naoki Tanaka||January 13, 2012||June 4, 2012||143|
|10||Satoshi Morimoto||June 4, 2012||December 26, 2012||205|
|11||Itsunori Onodera||December 26, 2012||September 3, 2014||616||Shinzō Abe|
|12||Akinori Eto||September 3, 2014||December 24, 2014||112|
|13||Gen Nakatani||December 24, 2014||August 3, 2016||588|
|14||Tomomi Inada||August 3, 2016||July 28, 2017||359|
|July 28, 2017||August 3, 2017||6|
|Itsunori Onodera||August 3, 2017||October 2, 2018||425|
|16||Takeshi Iwaya||October 2, 2018||September 11, 2019||344|
|17||Tarō Kōno||September 11, 2019||September 16, 2020||371|
|18||Nobuo Kishi||September 16, 2020||Incumbent||447||Yoshihide Suga|
Following the end of World War II, the Armed Forces of the Empire of Japan were disbanded and US forces took control. From 1950 to 1952, the National Police Reserve led by Minister of State Takeo Ōhashi was formed. It was renamed as the National Safety Force in 1952. In 1952, the Coastal Safety Force, the waterborne counterpart of the National Police Reserve, was founded and led by the Commissioner of the Coastal Safety Force (保安庁長官) Tokutarō Kimura.
These are the director generals of the Defense Agency. It is the predecessor of the Ministry of Defense which was established on 9 January 2007.
Although Article 68 of the Constitution states that all members of the Cabinet must be civilians, former military persons may be appointed Minister of Defense.
Previous positions that covered the role of the Minister of Defense: