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Japan's Self-Defense Forces struggle to meet recruiting targets

A shrinking population and stronger economy make filling the ranks harder

TOKYO -- Japan's Ministry of Defense has raised the age limit for Self-Defense Forces recruits for the first time in 28 years to make up for a shrinking pool of potential members.

The change, which took effect this month, lifts the maximum age for new recruits to 32 from 26. The new rule applies to two positions: non-fixed-term and fixed-term personnel. Non-fixed-term personnel can, in principle, remain in the SDF until retirement age.

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