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The National Defense Academy of Japan was created in 1952 by Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida as the National Safety Academy, for the purpose of creating a new officer corps for Japan’s post–World War II security forces. The academy opened on April 1, 1953, in Kurihama, Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, when it admitted its first class of 400 cadets, with Dr. Maki Tomoo, a Keio University law professor, as the first superintendent.

The Allied occupation of Japan following Japan’s surrender in 1945 marked a new moment in civil-military relations, with institutions related to the armed forces—widely blamed for Japan’s entry into the war and “militarism” in society generally—disbanded. War in Korea in 1950 provided new impetus for the reestablishment of forces to guarantee Japan’s defense. Existing police forces ...

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