As of 2001, the Japan Ground Self Defense Force still had lots of Mitsubishi Jeeps in active service, as they have had for most of their 50-year history. The force has not taken part in any combat action during that history; this photo shows maneuvers during a 2001 base open house. The Jeep mounts a 12.7mm machine gun, and attached to the top of the windshield is a covered rotating beacon light.
The design of all the Jeeps built under licence by Mitsubishi from 1953-1998 was based largely on the CJ-3B. Here, the base commander reviews troops from a J24A Jeep (type 73 small truck) at the JGSDF open house. The J24A has a "medium wheelbase" of 2225mm (about 88 inches). Photos by Morimoto, Makoto.
This J24A carries a wire-guided anti-tank missile with a range of 4 km.
The Japanese force is starting to phase out the Jeeps, which are being replaced by a vehicle based on the Mitsubishi Montero (30K JPEG).
Jerome Chua scanned these photos he inherited from his grandfather, who served as an army Depot Officer in the Philippines in the 1950's and 60's. The pier in the first photo is at Cagayan De Oro, and the Jeep is one of a group of 15 being offloaded in 1961. Its large fuel filler opening and rear-mounted spare and jerry can clearly identify it as a Mitsubishi CJ3B-J4 or J4C military version.
The sign on the back of the Jeep reads:
PHILIPPINES SPH 7266-95611-1054-0322-6100 1090-818-0159-25-22 "Triangle" WT-2296 CU -264.8 132" x 63" x 55" SB 9-4 Type II 2/11/61 APAJ
The label on the box in the Jeep reads:
Packaging LIST O.V.M. / RELATED TRUCK 1/4 TON 4X4 2/61 PACKED BY MHIR WT. 130 CU 8.7 BOX No. 2 of 2
Another photo from the period shows an inspection of a Jeep at Camp Evangelista in the Philippines. The front lifting rings identify it as a CJ3B-J4C. These photos suggest that these Japanese-made Jeeps were not only used by the U.S. Army, but may have been supplied as U.S. foreign aid.
More recently, here's a Mitsubishi J24A (type 73), apparently in some kind of emergency response service with the Japanese Navy. Note the number of windshield wipers -- three on the bottom and one on the top.
See also a side view (50K JPEG). These great photos were taken by U.S. Marine SSGT Rick Lopez on the island of Iwo Jima in October 2000. Rick says the Jeep "was zipping all over the island as we were humping towards Mt. Surabachi and Invasion beach."
This J24A, apparently surplus from the Japanese Navy, also carries the four windshield wipers, but this time three on top and one on the bottom. These photos were taken by Alasdair Brass in New Zealand in December, 2000.
An interior view (50K JPEG) clears up the mystery of how the four wipers work together. The driver obviously has to pay close attention, to operate the manual wiper on the bottom without hitting the ones on the top.
See also a front view photo (50K JPEG) of this army version.
These Jeeps would probably have been built in the late 1970's or early 80's. Alasdair commented, "They are fresh in from Japan, which is interesting. Under the General Douglas McArthur Pact, Japan was not to sell any military equipment, not ever!"
Thanks to Roberto Flores and all the contributors. All photos copyright by the photographers. -- Derek Redmond
Also on The CJ3B Page, see more Mitsubishi Jeeps in Japan and more CJ-3B Military Jeeps.
Elsewhere on the web, see Type 73 Jeep.
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