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Defense Intelligence Headquarters

Defense Intelligence Headquarters
Official seal of the Defense Intelligence Headquarters
Agency overview
Formed January 20, 1997; 19 years ago (1997-01-20)
Jurisdiction Japan
Headquarters Ichigaya, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Employees 2,451 personnel (2012)
Annual budget Classified
Parent agency Japanese Ministry of Defense
Website Official Site Invalid language code.

The Defense Intelligence Headquarters (情報本部 Jōhōhonbu?)[1] is the official signals intelligence agency of the Japanese government, under the jurisdiction of the Japanese Ministry of Defense. It is currently one of the biggest Japanese intelligence agencies[2] with its creation and structure modeled after the American Defense Intelligence Agency.[3]


Back in the 1980s, the former Japanese Defense Agency had several intelligence divisions with different duties. Among these intelligence division in the Defense Agency had included those from the Central Data Command Unit, the Joint Staff Council's Second Office and the three branches of the Japan Self-Defense Forces.[4] A supposed plan to integrate the intelligence divisions of the three JSDF branches started in 1988 before lack of cooperation and subordination ended it.[4]

Plans to consolidate all the intelligence bureaus of the old Defense Administration into one agency had started in the 1990s[5] after the Diet of Japan had passed a law on May 1996, calling for the creation of a central military intelligence agency before the DIH was eventually established on January 20, 1997[3][6] after intelligence units from the JSDF, Japanese Defense Agency and the Joint Staff council are united[7] with the appointment of Lieutenant General Kunimi Masahiro as the agency's first commanding officer.[2] Initially, DIH civilian and military staff members were numbered at 1,580[6] with a planned manpower of 2,000 personnel[8] before it reached its current manpower of 2,300 staff members.[9] In 2011, the manpower is 1,907 members[10]

Spy satellites had been planned for launch in 1998 as part of augmenting the DIH's intelligence gathering capabilities. Though two were able to launch into space, two more were destroyed in a botch attempt to send them to space.[11]

In 2005, the DIH has suffered its first internal leak of classified information when a Colonel in the JASDF had been arrested for allegedly leaking information regarding the accident of a People's Liberation Army Navy Submarine that took place in the same year in the South China Sea[12][13]

The DIH had announced in 2006 that a liaison office was established in Washington, D.C.[14] with the National Security Agency.

Known Activities


The DIH is under the jurisdiction of the Joint Staff Council and is controlled by the Defense Intelligence Committee, which is made up of the heads of the JGSDF, JMSDF and JASDF with the Joint Staff Council chairman[17][18] alongside the Japanese Defense Minister[17] and Senior Vice-Minister of Defense.

Command of the DIH was given directly to the Japanese Defense Minister on March 2006.[9]


A number of divisions were established under the DIH, including the following:[18][19]

Department Mandate
General Headquarters/Administration Division Provides administrative and logistics support
Planning Division Conducts HUMINT-related activities
Imagery Division Analyzes satellite images bought from American commercial satellites or from the JGSDF's Central Geographical Command located in Tachikawa, Tokyo
SIGINT Division Analyzes SIGINT intelligence. Is responsible for its electronics unit in Ichigaya to monitor North Korea-based communications. It also manages two CDAA 'elephant cages,' as well as six other communications offices. They are located in Kobunato, Niigata Prefecture, Oi, Saitama Prefecture, Tachiarai, Fukushima Prefecture and Kikaijima, Kagoshima Prefecture.
Analysis/Assessment Division Summarizes/assesses intelligence from Japanese military attachés serving abroad, intelligence from friendly nations and from DIH collaborators and agents
Joint intelligence Division Collect and analyse intelligence which is needed to cope with immediately, and support Chief of JSO and SDFs directly. This division is a part of DIH, but also is expected to be used as J-2 of JSO.


The main role of the DIH is to collect information and analyse for planning defense and operation policy. The agency collect information from open sources, signals and image intelligence as well as from other Japanese government ministries, Japanese embassies and other affiliated ministries and organizations.[9][20] In addition, they also gather intelligence through surveillance activities.[21]


The seal of the DIH consist of the following symbols:

Pheasant - Quality of intelligence gathering at high speed.[22]

Red Oval shapes around Earth - Positions of Spy satellites.[22]

Lightning - Radio waves.[22]

Star - Section and Stations of the DIH.[22]

Known DIH directors

DIH directors are usually positioned by a Lieutenant General from the JGSDF/JASDF or a Vice Admiral from the JMSDF.

  • Fumio Ota[23]
  • Kenichiro Hokazono; the former Chief of Air Staff
  • Koji Shimohira; the present director


  1. ^ 部局課名・官職名英訳名称一覧 Names of Government Organizations and Positions Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Japan's Growing Intelligence Capabilities, Andrew Oros. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  3. ^ a b New Japanese Defense Intelligence Headquarters. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Defence Intelligence Headquarters (DIH). Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  5. ^ Japan, Intelligence and Security. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Defence Intelligence Headquarters. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  7. ^ Asia Eyes Japan's New Military Intelligence Unit. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  8. ^ Press Conference by the Press Secretary. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  9. ^ a b c d Ministry of Defense White Paper, 2006. Chapter 3: Operations of Self-Defense Forces for Defense of Japan, Disaster Relief and Civil Protection. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  10. ^ Defense Programs and Budget of Japan Overview of FY2012 Budget Request, p. 26
  11. ^ With Eyes Wide Shut: Japan, Heisei Militarization and the Bush Doctrine. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  12. ^ Defense official under investigation on suspicion of leaking info+. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  13. ^ The secrets of the sea. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  14. ^ Japan to set up liaison office in Washington. Retrieved on June 16, 2008.
  15. ^ Section 2. Response of the Defense Agency to the Missile Launch by North Korea. Retrieved on June 16, 2008.
  16. ^ Japan’s Secret SIGINT Organizations: Focusing On North Korea. Retrieved on June 15, 2008.
  17. ^ a b 情報本部の長官(現防衛大臣)直轄化. Retrieved on June 15, 2008. Invalid language code.
  18. ^ a b "Japan Primer". University of Texas. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  19. ^ 情報本部の組織. Retrieved on June 15, 2008. Invalid language code.
  20. ^ 基本的業務. Retrieved on June 15, 2008. Invalid language code.
  21. ^ White Paper, 2007. Part II: The Basic of Japan's Defense Policy. Section 3: Organization of the MOD/SDF. Retrieved on June 9, 2008.
  22. ^ a b c d シンボルマークの紹介. Retrieved on June 15, 2008. Invalid language code.
  23. ^ U.S. to aid Japan with defensive missile test. Retrieved on June 16, 2008.

External links