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Japan decommissions Type 74 tanks

The Type 74 MBT (pictured above) – firing a round during an annual live-fire exercise in 2015 – is armed with a locally manufactured L7A3 105 mm rifled gun as its main armament that is fitted with a fume extractor at the rear. (AFP via Getty Images)

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) has decommissioned its Type 74 main battle tanks (MBTs) manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), a spokesperson for the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) told Janes on 27 May.

According to the spokesperson, the MoD has also “abolished” JGSDF units equipped with Type 74 MBTs.

“In accordance with the abolition of units such as [the] JGSDF 9th Tank Battalion based in Iwate, [the] 10th Tank Battalion based in Imazu, and [the] 13th Tank Troop in the reorganisation at the end of [the] Japanese financial year 2023, [the] JGSDF has disposed of approximately 90 Type 74 tanks,” the spokesperson said.

However, the spokesperson did not elaborate on where the personnel from these units were transferred.

“[The] personnel having worked in units with Type 74 tanks [units] are generally going to be transferred to other units of the same job,” the spokesperson added.

Japanese local media reported that the personnel from abolished units were transferred to combat reconnaissance battalions, where they operate Type 16 wheeled armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs).

According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles, Japan ordered nearly 850 Type 74s in the 1970s, but the in-service quantity was reduced to 150 by April 2021.

In 2011 the JGSDF decided to engender a greater focus on mobility in order to counter perceived threats from China.

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