Type 61 main battle tanks during an exercise at Camp Fuji in Japan, November 18, 1985. US Defense Department
* Japan built a large and capable armored force to counter the Soviets during the Cold War.
* But a rising China poses a new challenge, and Japan is changing how it designs and uses its armor.
Despite a few successes early in World War II, Japanese armor was hopelessly outclassed by Allied tanks as soon as they arrived in large numbers.
Those experiences and the threat of a Soviet invasion led the Japanese to put much more effort into post-war tank designs.
By the 1990s, Japan had a large and capable armored force. But the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) has had to recalibrate in recent decades.
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WNU Editor: Even with these improvements, Japan’s armored forces arel still outgunned 3:1 by China