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Earthquake Relief Operations in Niigata

Transporting an earthquake victim in Niigata
Transporting an earthquake victim in Niigata
On July 16 an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 struck off the coast of the northern Chuetsu region in Niigata Prefecture, and the SDF responded to a request of the prefectural governor for disaster relief. Until the period of the disaster relief operations was complete, the SDF dispatched a total number of about 90,000 personnel, who carried out rescue and relief activities, transport of people and cargo, water supply, support for provision of meals, and support for bathing. On July 25 the Iraqi ambassador to Japan visited the affected area, offering words of support to the earthquake victims and encouragement to the SDF personnel participating in the operations, some of whom had formerly been dispatched to Iraq.
 

Budget Request for Fiscal 2008

On August 31 the Ministry of Defense submitted its budget request for fiscal 2008 (year starting April 2008). The request included appropriations for introduction of the PX, the next-generation fixed-wing maritime patrol aircraft with improved patrol capabilities, the prompt strengthening of air defense capabilities through the ahead-of-schedule improvement project of F-15 fighters, and research on the Advanced Technological Demonstrator-X, which integrates advanced aviation technologies. This spending aims to modernize Japan's defense capabilities and improve capabilities to deal with various situations in line with the security environment. Additional items in the budget request included the new establishment of a Space and Ocean Policy Office, review of the organization for intelligence security, and strengthening and improvement of the operational base for the ballistic missile defense system.
    The total budgetary request came to ¥4,817.2 billion, up 0.7% from the figure for fiscal 2007.

Multilateral Maritime Exercise: Malabar 07-2

The MSDF participated for the first time in the multilateral maritime exercise “Malabar 07-2” in the surrounding water areas of the Bay of Bengal from September 4 to 9, for the purpose of enhancing the tactical skills of the MSDF and promoting relationships of mutual trust and mutual understanding with the participating navies. The United States, India, Australia, and Singapore also participated in the exercise. From the MSDF, the escort ships Ohnami and Yudachi and two P-3C patrol aircraft took part in the exercise. They conducted a series of tactical training with the participating navies, including anti-air warfare training, anti-submarine warfare training, and anti-surface warfare training.

The multilateral maritime exercise in the Bay of Bengal
The multilateral maritime exercise in the Bay of Bengal

Defense Forum Held in Tokyo

Active discussions took place at the TDF
Active discussions took place at the TDF
The Ministry of Defense has annually held the Tokyo Defense Forum (TDF) since fiscal 1996 with participation of director-general-level officials in charge of defense policy and defense exchange from the Asia-Pacific region. The Forum is designed to provide the defense officials with opportunities to ex- change views on ways to deepen mu- tual understanding and increase transparency for regional stability.
Defense Forum Held in Tokyo    The 12th TDF was held from September 19 to 21 at the Ministry of Defense with participants from 25 countries including the United States, China, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and Southeast Asian nations, along with four international organizations. The participants engaged in active discussions on the theme of "National and International Efforts for Peace-building in Peacetime" and agreed that the discussions on efforts to promote international cooperation and civil-military coordination in peace-building should be deepened in various international forums including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
 

Central Readiness Force Unit Launches Training

The entrance ceremony at Camp Komakado
The entrance ceremony at Camp Komakado
On September 19 an entrance ceremony was held at Camp Komakado marking the start of the first international activity officers' training course conducted by the International Peace Cooperation Activities Training and Education Unit, part of the Central Readiness Force (CRF) of the GSDF established in March this year. The course, which lasts approximately one month, provides participants with the skills and knowledge required for activities overseas. There are expectations that graduates will serve as key members in future international peace cooperation activities.
    At the entrance ceremony Masakazu Karube, commander of the training unit, spoke to the 33 participants, consisting of SDF officers from around the country, declaring, "I hope you will take pride as the first class to devote yourselves to your jobs and absorb much knowledge to prepare yourselves to handle future assignments with confidence."
    The International Peace Cooperation Activities Training and Education Unit plans to conduct training for approximately 240 personnel annually.
 

Japan's Paticipation in "Pacific Shield 07"

One sence of the "Pacific Shield 07" exercise
One sence of the "Pacific Shield 07" exercise
From October 13 to 15 "Pacific Shield 07," a mari- time interdiction exercise of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) hosted by Japan, was conducted in an eastern sea area off Oshima Island, and at the Ports of Yokosuka and Yokohama.
    PSI is a global undertaking to consider and implement measures within the scope of international and national laws to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, missiles, and their related materials; such proliferation is a threat to the peace and stability of the international community. This exercise was an expression of the strong will of the international community to enhance the nonproliferation regime; it also was a good opportunity for the deepening of understanding of PSI's objectives and efforts among the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
    This was the second PSI exercise hosted by Japan, following the one held in October 2004. It includes participation by the related ministries and agencies of Japan, and training participation by Australia, France, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States; others, including Asia-Pacific countries, took part as observers.
 

The Ministry of Defense is Reorganized

Aerial view of the Ministry of Defense
Aerial view of the Ministry of Defense
A major reorganization of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) was put into effect on September 1, 2007, in order to strengthen the necessary functions to play its roles for safeguarding peace and security. There were four key points of the reorgani-zation: (1) to integrate the Defense Facilities Administration Agency into MOD, (2) to reinforce policy-planning functions, (3) to newly establish the Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance, and (4) to newly establish Regional Defense Bureaus as local bases for MOD. Here we introduce the new organizational setup.
 

Organization Chart
Organization Chart