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    Declaration:

"In accordance with article 3, paragraph 2 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Government of Japan declares as follows:

The Government of Japan, by relevant laws and regulations, recruits only those who are at and above the minimum age of 18 as a member of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, with the exception of the cases of the students solely receiving educational training at the schools within the structure of the Japan Self-Defense Forces ( hereinafter referred to as "the Youth Cadets"), which come under "schools"stipulated in Article 3, paragraph 5 of the Optional Protocol.

The minimum age of recruitment of the Youth Cadets is 15 years.

In Japan, the safeguards to ensure that the recruitment of the Youth Cadets is not forced or coerced are as follows:

1. In accordance with the provisions of the Law on the Japan Self-Defense Forces (Law No 165/1954), the recruitment of personnel of the Japan Self-Defense Forces including the Youth Cadets is required to be based upon examination or selection, and it is prohibited to use such measures as threat, compulsion and similar means with the intention of realizing unjust recruitment of the members.

2. Further, in recruiting the Youth Cadets, the following shall be confirmed beforehand in accordance with the Instruction on the recruitment of the students of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (Japan Defense Agency Instruction No 51/1955).

(1) Either the person who executes the parental authority over a Youth Cadet or his/her guardian gives consent to the recruitment.

(2) The candidate for a Youth Cadet is fully informed of the duties to be involved in advance.

(3) A proof of the age of the Youth Cadets for being at or over 15 years is provided by a certifying document.

10.05.2002

02.08.2004

02.08.2004