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NO.11
 
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Young Chinese Officers Visit Japan

Young Chinese officers with the President of the National Defense Academy of Japan.
Young Chinese officers with the President of the National Defense Academy of Japan.
A group of 15 People’s Liberation Army officers (mostly young officers) led by Lt. Col. Liu Zhongbin visited Japan on September 10 on the invitation of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    The visit is based on agreements reached at Japan-China summit meetings in December 2007 and May 2008. Mutual visits by young officers are designed to deepen mutual understanding not only between defense authorities but also between the people of the two countries.
    The officers paid a courtesy call on Vice-Minister of Defense Kohei Masuda at the MOD on the day of their arrival. On September 11, they toured the MSDF Yokosuka Naval Base and the National Defense Academy of Japan and exchanged views with 14 young SDF officers. On September 12 they visited the ASDF Iruma Airbase and GSDF Camp Asaka and returned home on September 14.
 

Government Considers Ending Operations in Iraq

Then Defense Minister Hayashi answers reporters' questions on the SDF’s withdrawal from Iraq.
Then Defense Minister Hayashi answers reporters' questions on the SDF’s withdrawal from Iraq.
The government on September 11 announced it would consider concluding by around the end of the year the airlift activities carried out over four and a half years by the Air Self Defense Force as part of Japan's reconstruction assistance for Iraq.
    "We have been conducting discussions with the Iraqi government," then Minister Hayashi said. "In the light of the current political and security situation in the country and opinions of the Iraqi government, we have decided to consider concluding our operations by around the end of the year." He added that efforts need to be concentrated on the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and vowed to make every effort to continue the replenishment support activities in the Indian Ocean.
 

Ministry of Defense Reform

On August 25, the Ministry of Defense held its second meeting of the MOD Reform Head Office (chaired by the Defense Minister) and announced a basic policy on organizational reform of the Ministry as well as a plan for implementation.
    The Reform Head Office was established within the MOD on July 18, 2008, to implement reforms in line with the direction outlined in the final report of the Council for Reforming the Ministry of Defense, the "Analysis of Misconducts and Direction for Reform," released on July 15. The Council had been set up in December 2007 by then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and held 11 meetings.
    The basic policy and implementation plan have been developed on the basic concepts of reinforcing the assistance structure for the Defense Minister and of fully securing civilian control, as well as of building a mechanism for closer coordination between civilian and uniformed personnel.

Reforms in FY 2009
  • Enactment of legislation for the establishment of a defense council, which would serve as the highest decision-making body of the Ministry
  • Abolishment of the posts of Defense Counselors and establishment of politically appointed aides to the Ministers of Defense

Reforms in FY 2010
  • Functional reinforcement of the Bureau of Defense Policy through appointments of uniformed personnel
  • Functional reinforcement of the Joint Staff Office through the transfer of the Bureau of Operational Policy to this office
  • Streamlining and integration of defense capability build-up sections and integration of administrative sections in the Ministry

Others
Reforms relating to urgent issues—such as full compliance with regulations, protection of classified information, establishment of communication channels for information, and establishment of rules for media relations—will be implemented in FY 2008.

Antiterrorism Events Mark 9/11 Anniversary

A teleconference between then Minister Hayashi and the commanding officer in the Indian Ocean.
A teleconference between then Minister Hayashi and the commanding officer in the Indian Ocean.

Defense Parliamentary Secretary Kishi lays a wreath.
Defense Parliamentary Secretary Kishi lays a wreath.
The MOD held a variety of events on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States to mourn for those who lost their lives and to reaffirm the importance of—as well as to renew the MOD’s resolve in—the fight against terrorism, which was launched in the wake of the attacks. Then Minister Hayashi delivered an address to the Ministry staff and held a teleconference with the commanding officer of the unit conducting replenishment support activities in the Indian Ocean. There was also a concert by the MSDF's Tokyo Band. The concert also featured a performance by a band consisting of then Minister Hayashi and three other Diet members.
    On the same day, Defense Parliamentary Secretary Nobuo Kishi visited the United Sates, offering a wreath at the Tribute Center at Ground Zero in New York.
 

Dispatch of SDF Personnel to Sudan

SDF officers visiting Prime Minister Aso before their departure for Sudan.
SDF officers visiting Prime Minister Aso before their departure for Sudan.
On October 3, Japan decided to dispatch two SDF personnel to the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), based on the Law concerning Cooperation for United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations and Other Operations.
    UNMIS was established to support the implementation of the peace agreement after Sudan's civil war—which began in the 1980s—came to an end in 2005. Japan had been asked by the UN to dispatch personnel to the mission. In June this year, then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Japan would dispatch personnel to UNMIS.
    The two unarmed SDF officers left for Sudan on October 24. They will serve there until June 30, 2009. One will undertake coordination activities within UNMIS relating to the general logistical demands of the military forces in the Logistics Office of the Military Headquarters, and the other will manage the database at the Joint Information Analysis Center Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN.
 

Policy Debate within the Defense Ministry

The first meeting of the Defense Posture Review Board.
The first meeting of the Defense Posture Review Board.
Defense Capabilities
On September 17, the MOD established the Defense Posture Review Board, chaired by the Minister of Defense, as a venue for discussions and reviews on the revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines and held its first meeting. The council will debate various issues from a broad perspective so as to contribute to the government's review on the revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines.

Use and Development of Outer Space
The MOD established the Committee for Promotion of Outer Space Development and Use, chaired by the Senior Vice-Minister of Defense, and its first meeting was held on September 11. The committee will discuss the basic policies of the MOD and the SDF regarding the development and use of outer space, while paying attention to the debate being conducted by the government on comprehensive and planned use and development of outer space, based on the Basic Law of Outer Space that came into force on August 27.