Japan | Why soldiers are allowed to grow longer hair from now on
Defence Redefined
Published on 19/02/2024 at 13:35

Japanese army recruits will now be able to have longer hair in an effort to attract more young people, the country’s Defence Ministry said.

The announcement comes as Japan struggles with a shortage of soldiers in the face of growing concerns over threats from China and North Korea.

So far, only very short haircuts were allowed for male recruits and short hair for women. Yet, as of April, the rules will be relaxed and allow soldiers to have longer hair.

Under the new rules, male soldiers will be allowed to have short hair on the back and sides and longer hair on top. Female personnel will be allowed to have longer hair – but cannot fall over the shoulders when tied while in uniform – and this does not prevent the use of helmets.

According to the Kyodo news agency, news of the relaxed rule was first reported in January during a meeting of an expert committee tasked with increasing the number of troops for the Japan Self-Defence Forces (JSDF).

The role of the Japanese military since World War II has been exclusively defensive, according to the country’s pacifist constitution.

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