IJN is an abbreviation which was used to shorten the term Imperial Japanese Navy. This organization fought Japan's wars (all of which, by definition, were at least partly naval) until the defeat of Japan in 1945. At that point, the Japanese military was prised away from its self-perpetuated link with the Emperor, morphing into the JSDF or Japanese Self-Defense Force. Employed such famous minds as Yamamoto and his deputies Ukagi and Nagumo during the Second World War.

By the end of the twentieth century, the JNSDF (ex-IJN) has become the second-most powerful navy in the Pacific Rim, second only to the American Seventh Fleet, as the U.S. supported its buildup. The JSDF was intended to serve as convoy protection to a radius of a thousand nautical miles from Japan's shores in the event of a U.S./U.S.S.R. conflict; as such, as well as due to Article 9 of the Japenese Constitution, it has several particular quirks. It is heavily weighted towards ASW; only in recent times have things changed towards a more balanced force with the acquisition of four AEGIS-class vessels. The ships are Japanese-built and designed, but they carry the American AEGIS system. Gradually, the JNSDF is changing into a flotilla navy, with four small but capable battle groups building up around each of these ships.

Finally, the tendency of the Japanese to whitewash the names of their forces (tanks are officially referred to as 'special vehicles') has hit the JNSDF as well; it is acquiring two small amphibious assault vessels. These ships, capable of operating helicopters and landing craft, are known on the rolls as 'Disaster Relief Vessels.'

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