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Chief of Staff (Imperial Japanese Army)

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The Chief of Staff, sometimes Chief of General Staff or Chief of Army Staff, was the highest operational position in the Imperial Japanese Army. This individual was co-equal, organizationally, to the Chief of Staff (Imperial Japanese Navy).

Relationships among top Army officers differed from many other countries. The Army Minister (Japan), also called the War Minister, also was a general or field marshal on the active list. Due to the traditions of insitutionalized insubordination (gekokoju) in the Japanese military, both major field commands such as the Kwangtung Army, as well as junior or midgrade officers, might take significant actions without the approval, or even prior knowledge, of the Chief of Staff.

Along with these two, the most important Army officer was the Inspector General of Military Education.

Since Palace officials or the Prime Minister of Japan could be generals, there were more informal command networks. In addition, a Supreme War Council (Japan) of non-operational senior officers would review plans.