disproportionately large elderly population, one of the lowest fertility rates of any developed,OECD country and minimal net immigration. Japan's fertility rate of roughly 1.2 children born forevery Japanese woman is well below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman that isneeded to maintain the existing population level. By 2050, the population of Japan has beenforecast to contract by more than 25 percent to about 95 million people. International Relations and Foreign Policy Japan has deliberately elected to take a largely passive stance toward involvement in internationalconflicts and disputes for most of its post-WWII history. Article 9 of The Constitution of Japan,adopted on November 3, 1946, renounces going to war or "the use of force as a means of settlinginternational disputes." In lieu of a conventional military, Japan established the Japan Self-Defense Forces (also known as the SDF, JSDF or Jietai) as an extension of the Japanese policeforce and a strictly defensive mechanism to provide for the country's national security and assistwith national emergencies. Japan first deployed the SDF abroad in 1991 when it dispatched minesweepers to the PersianGulf after fighting ceased in the 1991 Gulf War. Since Japan enacted the International PeaceCooperation Law in 1992, the Japanese government has deployed the SDF on certain overseasmissions to support the U.N.'s international peacekeeping operations. Japan largely relies on the U.S. for protection against external threats. Under the 1960 Treaty ofMutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the U.S., the U.S. has agreed to defendJapan if the country or any of its territories come under attack. Roughly 40,000 U.S. militarypersonnel and civilians in defense roles are stationed or employed on U.S. military bases locatedacross Japan. The majority of U.S. military personnel in Japan are stationed on the main island of OkinawaPrefecture in Japan's Ryukyu Islands, where U.S. military bases occupy about 18 percent of theterritory. Japan pays roughly $2 billion as annual host-nation support to cover the costs anddefense services of the U.S. military presence in Japan. This article and set of facts about Japan comes from my site Global Sherpa, which publishesarticles on current topics in world news, globalization, international development, cities and foreignpolicy. Please drop me a line through one of the contact forms on the site with any comments,recommendations, or project ideas. Over time, I hope the site will become a catalyst for learning and collaborative projects that willhelp spread the interest in world affairs and promote international understanding, development,and well-being. Article Copyright Global Sherpa. All rights reserved.