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NO.10
 
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Departure of Third Replenishment Flotilla

A scene from the send-off ceremony at Sasebo Base.
A scene from the send-off ceremony at Sasebo Base.
The replenishment ship Hamana and destroyer Yudachi left Sasebo Port on July 24 for the Indian Ocean as the third replenishment flotilla with a crew of approximately 330.
    At present, the replenishment ship Mashu and destroyer Ikazuchi which left Maizuru and Yokosuka Ports, respectively, on April 20 for the Indian Ocean as the second replenishment flotilla, are engaged in replenishment activities.
    The first flotilla comprising the replenishment ship Oumi and destroyer Murasame returned on June 3 to Sasebo and June 4 to Yokosuka, respectively, after completing its mission of four and a half months. All members returned home safely.
 

JASDF Airlift Squadron Marks 700th Flight in Iraq

The JASDF Iraqi Reconstruction Assistance Air Transport Squadron in Kuwait.
The JASDF Iraqi Reconstruction Assistance Air Transport Squadron in Kuwait.
C-130 transport planes of the JASDF Iraqi Reconstruction Assistance Air Transport Squadron marked their 700th flight. The squadron has been transporting personnel and supplies of the UN and multinational forces from Kuwait to Iraq since March 2004 to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance and to support activities for ensuring security in Iraq.
    The squadron is the fifteenth team to be dispatched to Iraq and comprises approximately 210 members and three aircraft. In more than four years of the operation, the JASDF has made 739 flights and transported approximately 620 tons of supplies, as of July 23.
 

Cobra Gold 2008

An SDF member undergoes medical training in a district of Thailand lacking health services.
An SDF member undergoes medical training in a district of Thailand lacking health services.
The Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces participated in the Cobra Gold 2008 multilateral exercise, held in Thailand from May 8 to 21.
    The annual joint exercise focusing on peace enforcement activities in regional conflicts, UN peacekeeping operations, and humanitarian assistance activities marked its twenty-seventh year in 2008. In addition to Japan, participants included the United States, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore.
    The SDF dispatched 70 members for its fourth Cobra Gold, taking part in command post exercises, training in the transport of Japanese nationals overseas, training for humanitarian and medical assistance, and other exercises.
 

New Space Law Enacted

dpa / PANA
dpa / PANA
The Basic Law of Outer Space was enacted on May 21 with the passage of the bill by the House of Councillors. The law was established to promote policies for the development and use of outer space in a comprehensive and planned manner at a time when advances in science and technology have enhanced the importance of development and use of outer space.
    The legislation calls for development and use “pursuant to the idea of pacifism of the Constitution of Japan” and to “contribute to peace and security of the international community and the security of Japan.”     On July 1 the Space and Maritime Security Policy Office was established inside the Ministry of Defense. The office will take a central role in considering various policies related to outer space.
 

Assistance for the Toyako Summit

GSDF helicopters airlifted leaders to and from summit venues.
GSDF helicopters airlifted leaders to and from summit venues.
The Group of Eight Hokkaido Toyako Summit was held on July 7–9. The Ministry of Defense provided assistance in transporting VIPs between New Chitose Airport and Toyako and other areas, conducted surveillance activities in surrounding waters and air space with MSDF destroyers and the AWACS system, and enhanced the security of SDF facilities. To deal with contingencies, the state of preparedness of the Chemical Protection and other emergency units was enhanced.
    This is the first summit hosted by Japan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Given the lingering threat of terrorism, the Defense Ministry took every possible measure under the existing legal framework to be able to respond to any emergency.
 

Dispatch of Staff Officers to Sudan

Prime Minister Fukuda, right, and UN Secretary General Ban. (Jiji)
Prime Minister Fukuda, right, and UN Secretary General Ban. (Jiji)
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced during a joint press conference with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on June 30 that SDF personnel would be dispatched as staff officers to the Headquarters of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). And on July 1 Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba instructed his chiefs of staff and other officials to make necessary preparations for the dispatch.
    The dispatch will help prevent Sudan from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda, which used the country as a base of operations, and contribute to the stability of the Middle East and other regions at the frontline of the fight against terrorism. It will also enable closer cooperation with the G8 and Asia-Pacific countries that are strengthening their involvement in Africa.
    This is the first dispatch of SDF personnel for international peace cooperation activities in Africa after the 1994 refugee relief operation in Rwanda and the third overall.