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Tokyo Defense Forum

Tokyo Defense Forum
Tokyo Defense Forum
The Ministry of Defense hosted the thirteenth Forum for Defense Authorities in the Asia-Pacific Region (Tokyo Defense Forum) on October 21-24. The forum was chaired by Masaru Tsuji, Director-General for International Affairs, MOD.
    One of the themes of the discussion was "Efforts for International Cooperation in Disaster Relief." Views were exchanged on the lessons learned from recent international relief operations and further promotion of international cooperation based on experiences in major natural disasters, such as the earthquake in China's Sichuan Province and the cyclone in Myanmar, focusing on information sharing and coordination between affected and assisting countries.
    The forum's second topic was "National Defense Policies." Presentations were made on major trends in the defense policies of each country.
    The outcomes of the Tokyo Defense Forum were reported to the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting on disaster relief.
    The forum was attended by 25 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, China, India, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States, along with such international organizations as the European Union (EU), the ASEAN Secretariat, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Japan-India Security Declaration

Joint news conference of the Japan-India Security Declaration
Joint news conference of the Japan-India Security Declaration
Prime Minister Taro Aso met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the prime minister's office in Tokyo and signed the "Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation" between Japan and India on October 22.
    This Joint Declaration includes elements and mechanisms for cooperation in various areas, including defense dialogue and cooperation, and expresses the intention to develop an action plan with specific measures to advance security cooperation in these areas.
    India is the third country with whom Japan has issued a joint security declaration following the United States and Australia.

New Chief of the Air Staff Office

The government on November 7 approved a personnel action to assign Ken'ichiro Hokazono, Director General, Defense Intelligence Headquarters, as the new chief of the Air Staff Office. He was appointed to his new post by the Defense Minister on the same day.
    Hokazono's predecessor was removed from office on October 31 for making public his opinions that clearly differed from the official government position.

Former Peacekeepers Dispatched to Egypt PKO Center

A lecture by a dispatched GSDF officer
A lecture by a dispatched GSDF officer
On November 21, two Ground Self-Defense Force officers were dispatched as instructors to the Cairo Regional Center for Training on Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa. It was the first time that members of the SDF were dispatched as instructors to a PKO center in a foreign country. The center in Cairo, Egypt, offers training for African military officers, etc., in peacekeeping and other activities.
    Dispatched were Lieutenant Colonel Yoji Takahashi, who led the Golan Heights transport unit, and Lieutenant Colonel Yoshiyuki Sakaemura, who took part in the humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Iraq. They gave lectures over four days on ways to relate with local residents based on their experiences in international peacekeeping activities.

Extension of Replenishment Support Law

The Towada leaving port
The Towada leaving port
On December 12, 2008, the House of Representatives overturned the decision of the House of Councilors to extend the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law and enable the MSDF to continue its replenishment support activities in the Indian Ocean.
    The enactment of the bill extends the law due to expire in January 2009 by one year. The bill had been deliberated continuously since its submission to the Diet at the end of September 2008. While it was rejected by the opposition-controlled upper house, it was subsequently reapproved by a two-thirds majority in the lower house.
    The refueling vessel Towada and destroyer Ariake which left Kure and Sasebo ports respectively on November 10 with a crew of about 330, are currently engaged in the MSDF's fourth replenishment mission.

Fiscal 2009 Defense Budget

An ASDF F-15 fighter
An ASDF F-15 fighter
The government approved the fiscal 2009 budget proposal on December 24, earmarking \4.7 trillion for defense-related expenditures, which represents a decline of \40 billion - or 0.8% - from the preceding year. The budget includes expenses for improvements in the E-767's radar functions, research on high-maneuvering stealth aircraft, strengthening of the system for peace cooperation activities, ballistic missile defense, space utilization, and maritime safety.
    Prior to the approval of the budget proposal, the Ministry of Defense shelved its plans to procure seven successor aircraft for the F-4 fighters during fiscal 2009, and reviewed the midterm defense buildup program covering JFY 2005 to 2009, including the intensive implementation of the modernization of F-15 fighters ahead of the initial schedule. The review was approved by the Security Council of Japan and at the cabinet meeting on December 20.