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SPOTLIGHT

Interview with Joint Staff Office Chief of Staff Hajime Massaki

Hajime Massaki
Hajime Massaki

What is the reason for shifting the SDF to a new joint operations system?
Under the present system, basically each service of the SDF carries out operations independently, coordinating operations when necessary. And the chief of staff of each service assists the minister of state for defense separately. There are three reasons for the shift to a new posture for joint operations.
    The first reason is swift and effective response through unified operations by the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF. It is necessary to establish a joint operations system enabling the SDF to collaborate flexibly and perform their duties swiftly and effectively while conditions are normal. We also believe this change is essential in order to maximize utilization of advancing military technology.
    Second, unification of assistance to the minister from the viewpoint of military expertise is necessary in order to respond swiftly and effectively to full-spectrum situations. Third, smooth conduct of bilateral actions with the US military based on joint operations are extremely important for Japan, whose security policy is grounded in the Japan-US security arrangements, and improving the efficiency of such actions is required.


What is the concept behind the new joint operations system?
The chief of staff, Joint Staff Office (JSO) who will head the JSO, will draw up a unified operational concept including the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF and provide unified assistance to the minister of state for defense from the viewpoint of military expertise regarding SDF operations. In addition, the minister will exercise command through the chief of staff, JSO, who will execute the minister's orders regarding SDF operations.
    In the future, it is anticipated that the kinds of contingencies to which the SDF have to respond will occur suddenly and may escalate rapidly. Under the new system we aspire to respond more swiftly and effectively to full-spectrum situations.


What is the resolve behind the initiative to create a new system?
In making the shift to the new joint operations posture, we are going to build a joint operations posture suited to Japan's culture and traditions, and one for which the SDF are uniquely adapted. In undertaking this major reform, we will do our best to create a joint operations posture that will build confidence while making the most of the special qualities of the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF. As a renewed SDF, we will endeavor to make the new posture an ideal one by constantly refining it.