Self-Efficacy and Family Resilience Among the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Families

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Hitoshi KAWANO, Japan National Defense Academy, Japan
Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) has engaged in various types of new missions overseas since 1992. In addition, the 3/11 East Japan Great Earthquake in 2011, subsequent tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima, resulted in the largest-ever domestic disaster relief operation in the JSDF history. One of the lessons learned from the all-out domestic disaster relief operation is that family support for mobilized JSDF personnel during the operation requires further improvement. Over the last few years, JSDF have committed to improve institutional family support programs while coordinating family support efforts by local governments, and associations of veterans, military families, and civilian volunteers. This paper examines how social support networks for military families have developed in Japan, focusing on the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). In particular, we explore effectiveness of the institutional family support programs from the individual family’s perspective based on quantitative and qualitative data. We conducted a 2000-sample survey on JGSDF personnel and their families, while interviewing 55 JGSDF families, covering 15 different bases all over Japan. As a result, we found that whereas majority of the JGSDF family members and personnel recognize importance of institutional family support programs, institutionalization process at the local level has not yet fully developed. Formal and/or semi-formal networks of social support for JGSDF families are still under development, although increasing number of local governments now have official agreements with local JSDF bases to provide public support measures, including monitoring family safety, providing temporary child care, and health care services in time of large-scale natural disaster and other contingency operations. In conclusion, it is suggested that “self-efficacy” and “family resilience,” instead of "community capacity" model, would best describe current reality of social support for the JGSDF families.