Defensive memorial cordon
The Defensive memorial cordon (防衛記念章) is the decoration for officers in the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The officials can wear it on their uniforms only in active service. They are only cordons like the Unit Awards and the Unit Citations of United States Armed Forces.
The appearance of the defensive memorial cordon is similar to ribbon bars of military decoration, but it is completely different from regular ribbon bars, and are not awards or medals. The defensive memorial cordon is a 'rectangular-shaped memorial souvenir' for service career, participation of training in overseas, and participation in international peacekeeping and assistance operations.
After World War II, the standard for conferment of a decoration was changed and JSDF officials in active service were excluded from the now-civilian orders and decorations. In addition, the JSDF could not gain opportunity to participate battle because it is prohibited by Chapter 9 of the Constitution of Japan.
Just after the JSDF was established in 1954, there were some officials who had military decorations and ribbon bars awarded by Imperial Japanese Army, so they wore in formal ceremony. They retired as time goes on, and no one could wear the military decorations with entitlement. For this reason, the officers in the JSDF in the 1970s had to participate in international meetings without any decorations.
On April 1, 1982, the system for Defensive memorial cordon was established to keep balance of looking between Japanese and foreign servicemen. When the system for Defensive memorial cordon was established, there were only 15 types of cordons, unlike past decorations the cordons are only used by officers of the JSDF.
The following Self-Defense Force officers in active service are allowed to wear the defensive memorial cordon:
- Officers who receive an official commendation by the Japan Self-Defense Forces
- Officers who serve duties about the concerned awarding at the awarded institutions (National Defense Academy, National Defense Medical College, National Institute for Defense Studies, Technical Research and Development Institute, Equipment Procurement and Construction Office, the military units, the military institutions, a branch offices of Equipment office)
- Officers who are commanders of units and commands or other managerial positions established by the Minister of Defense.
- Officers who serve duties at the internal Subdivisions (Internal Subdivisions in Ministry of Defense, Section of the Joint Staffs, Defense Intelligence Headquarters, Ground Staff Office, Maritime Staff Office, Air Staff Office, Technical Research and Development Institute, Equipment Procurement and Construction Office, Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance)
- Long serving officers. In this case, the officials who were awarded the prize of perfect attendance.
- Officers who work at the diplomatic missions overseas, or who were engaged duties about procurement by onerous assistance or other overseas activities as may be ordered.
- Officers who participate in overseas training missions and exercises or work for transporting to the South Pole.
- Officers who participate in international cooperation activties, such as peacekeeping operations, disaster relief and joint training exercises with foreign armed forces.
- Officers who participate in national events or cooperating work of sports competitions which are regulated in Self-Defense Forces Act Chapter 126-12 (Olympic Games, Asian Games, National Sports Festival, FIFA World Cup and others) as may be directed by General Headquarters, JSDF
Types of cordons
There are today 41 cordons. When the system for the defensive memorial cordon was established, there were only 15 cordons. They must be worn by ascending order. Male officials wear three cordons for each line, and female officials wear two cordons for each line. If the foreign Orders and/or decorations are awarded to officers, these take precedence over the cordons and are required to be placed above them.
Some cordons (marked as grey) still exist, but it is impossible to meet their requirements (the targeted organizations have been abolished, or missions have finished):
|Appearance||English name||Japanese name||Wearer|
|1st Defensive Memorial Cordon||第1号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the SDF Special Citation for bravery and valor in national defense and civil disaster relief.|
|2nd Defensive Memorial Cordon||第2号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 1st Class Citation.|
|3rd Defensive Memorial Cordon||第3号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 2nd Class Citation.|
|4th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第4号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 3rd Class Citation for national defense and civil relief operations.|
|5th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第5号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 3rd Class Citation by driving the vehicles or aircraft for appointed hour and for appointed mileage without accidents.|
|6th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第6号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 3rd Class Citation by excellent invention or device technically or distinguished service for unit management with service improvement.|
|7th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第7号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 3rd Class Citation by distinguished service during the ordinary training or maneuvers.|
|8th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第8号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 4th Class Citation for national defense and civil relief operations.|
|9th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第9号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 4th Class Citation by driving the vehicles or aircraft for appointed hour and for appointed mileage without accidents.|
|10th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第10号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 4th Class Citation by excellent invention or device technically or distinguished service for unit management with service improvement.|
|11th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第11号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 4th Class Citation by distinguished service during the ordinary training or maneuvers.|
|12th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第12号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 5th Class Citation for national defense and civil relief operations.|
|13th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第13号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 5th Class Citation by driving the vehicles or aircraft for appointed hour and for appointed mileage without accidents.|
|14th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第14号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 5th Class Citation by excellent invention or device technically or distinguished service for unit management with service improvement.|
|15th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第15号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who have received the 5th Class Citation for distinguished service during the ordinary training or maneuvers.|
|16th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第16号防衛記念章||Officers from the units which for service for the country in defense operations, international deployments and civil disaster relief were awarded the Security Meritorious Award or Disaster Prevention Meritorious Award.|
|17th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第17号防衛記念章||Officers of JSDF formations and agencies who served missions related to the Special Award.|
|18th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第18号防衛記念章||Officers of JSDF formations and agencies who served missions related to 1st Class Citation.|
|19th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第19号防衛記念章||Awarded to general and flag officers with command appointments (lieutenant general, vice admiral).|
|20th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第20号防衛記念章||Awarded to general and flag officers with command appointments (major general, rear admiral).|
|21st Defensive Memorial Cordon||第21号防衛記念章||Awarded to field officers with command appointments (colonel, captain).|
|22nd Defensive Memorial Cordon||第22号防衛記念章||Awarded to field officers with command appointments (lieutenant colonel, commander, major, lieutenant commander).|
|23rd Defensive Memorial Cordon||第23号防衛記念章||Awarded to junior officers with command or leadership appointments (company-grade officer).|
|24th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第24号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who serve at the internal subdivisions of Ministry of Defense.|
|25th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第25号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who serve at the Joint Staff Office and also were chosen by the Minister of Defense (substitution of 27th cordon).|
|26th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第26号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who serve at the Ground Staff Office, Maritime Staff Office, or Air Staff Office.|
|27th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第27号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers served at the Joint Staff Council and the Defense Intelligence Headquarters.|
|28th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第28号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who serve at the Defense Intelligence Headquarters after shifting to the joint operations posture, and who were appointed by the Minister of Defense (substitution of 27th cordon).|
|29th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第29号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who served at the Technical Research and Development Institute.|
|30th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第30号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who served at the Equipment Procurement and Construction Office.|
|31st Defensive Memorial Cordon||第31号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers who serve at the Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance.|
|32nd Defensive Memorial Cordon||第32号防衛記念章||Awarded for 25 years service.|
|33rd Defensive Memorial Cordon||第33号防衛記念章||Awarded for 10 years service.|
|34th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第34号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers serving at Diplomatic missions as Defense Attache and so on, or who were engaged duties about procurement by onerous assistance or other overseas activties.|
|35th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第35号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers deployed in JSDF operations against Piracy in Somalia.|
|36th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第36号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers of JSDF formations and agencies who served in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.|
|37th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第37号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers of JSDF who participated in works and actions for international cooperation as may be authorized by the Defense Forces.|
|38th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第38号防衛記念章||The JSDF members who participated the work for activity in the Indian Sea.|
|39th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第39号防衛記念章||The JSDF members who participated the work for the Iraqi contribution.|
|40th Defensive Memorial Cordon||第40号防衛記念章||Awarded to JSDF officers for outstanding service in national events as may be authorized by General Headquarters, JSDF.|
|41st Defensive Memorial Cordon||第41号防衛記念章||Awarded to officers of the JSDF who participate in overseas training and simulation missions with other armed services.|
Rules for multiple awardees
If the same cordons are to be awarded for further actions officers qualified to receive them have to put gold or silver cherry blossoms on the cordons.
- 1 silver cherry blossom for 2 cordons.
- 1 gold cherry blossom for 3 cordons.
- 2 silver cherry blossoms for 4 cordons.
- 2 gold cherry blossoms for more than 4 cordons.
- It is impossible now to be awarded 27th cordon because the Joint Staff Council was abolished and reorganized as the Joint Staff Office. For this reason, 25th and 28th cordons were established.