Japan Ministry of Defense


 
Maritime Self-Defense Force P-3C patrol aircraft on duty off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

Japan Defense Focus No.14

Maritime Self-Defense Force P-3C patrol aircraft off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

 

DEFENSE POLICY

Anti-piracy operations off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden

On March 30, 2009, Self Defense Force (SDF) began escort operations to protect ships from acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. In the three months up to July 1, MSDF destroyers 'Sazanami' and 'Samidare' have provided escorts to a total of 100 ships.

These escort operations are intended to ensure the safety of sea line of communications off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden in accordance with the maritime security operations stipulated under Article 82 of the Self-Defense Forces Law, and provide escorts for the following ships.

Ships to be escorted

Japanese-registered ships
Foreign-registered ships with Japanese on board
Foreign-registered ships operated by Japanese ship transportation companies or transporting Japanese cargo which are important to the stable economic activity of Japan‘s citizens

An outline of the escort operations carried out by the SDF is as follows:
· Major equipment
Two destroyers (Sazanami & Samidare)
Each destroyer is equipped with a patrol helicopter and special boats (RHIBs)
· Dispatched personnel
Approximately 400
* The destroyers are also accompanied by eight Coast Guard officers who perform judicial police duties.

The destroyers have also responded on several occasions to notifications from ships other than those under escort. Below is a list of these responses.

(1) On April 4, the destroyer Sazanami received a notification from a ship not under escort of an approaching small boat, to which it responded by shining its search light as well as sounding a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).

(2) On April 11, the destroyer Samidare received a notification from a ship not under escort of an approaching small boat, to which it responded by hailing the boat using the LRAD system and deploying a patrol helicopter to confirm the situation.

(3) On April 18, the destroyer Sazanami received a notification from a ship not under escort of an approaching small boat, to which it responded by dispatching a patrol helicopter to confirm the situation.

(4) On April 30, the destroyer Samidare obtained information that a ship not under escort was being pursued by a suspicious boat, to which it responded by dispatching a patrol helicopter to confirm the situation.

(5) On May 18, the destroyer Samidare obtained information on a suspicious boat, to which it responded by dispatching a patrol helicopter to confirm the situation.

(6) On June 3, the destroyer Sazanami received a notification from a foreign-registered commercial ship (tanker) that it was being pursued by a small boat, to which Sazanami responded by dispatching a patrol helicopter to confirm the situation.

N.B. All of the above-listed dates are based on Japan time.

Dispatch of P-3C patrol aircraft

In addition to two destroyers carrying out escort operations in the area, two P-3C patrol aircraft were dispatched from the JMSDF Atsugi Air Base to the Republic of Djibouti on May 28 for the mission of anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

base of its operations is located, the P-3Cs completed the required training and began surveillance and other missions in the Gulf of Aden on June 11. It is expected that these aircraft will ensure aerial surveillance and information gathering operations in a broad area in coordination with the maritime forces.

Outline of dispatched air unit
· Two P-3C patrol aircraft
· Dispatched personnel
Total of approx. 150
On July 6, two deatroyers ’Harusame‘ and ’Amagiri‘ left the JMSDF Yokosuka Naval Base and the JMSDF Maizuru Naval Base respectively for the region to relieve destroyers “Sazanami” and “Samidare”.


DEFENSE POLICY

Response to the North Korea’s Missile Launch

1. Background


FPS-5 (A radar enables the detection and tracking of ballistic missiles)

On March 12, the Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korea had provided information required for the safety of aircraft and marine vessels to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as part of its preparations for launching an “artificial satellite”.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) reinforced its intelligence gathering and surveillance posture and, on March 27, secured the necessary readiness for unexpected situations by issuing an Order for Measures to Destroy Ballistic Missiles or Other Objects prescribed by Paragraph 3, Article 82-2 of the Self-Defense Forces Law and deploying the Aegis destroyers and PAC-3 Patriot missile units. The MoD also provided information on the launch on April 5 to the Prime Minister's Office and relevant ministries in order to ensure that it could provide information immediately to local governments.

On April 10, considering this launch by North Korea to be an activity associated with the country's ballistic missile program in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions 1695 and 1718, the Japanese Government officially referred to the launch as a “missile launch by North Korea”.

2. Analysis

Based on analysis and study on information obtained up to May 15, it is not conceivable that this launch ”succeeded in sending an artificial satellite into orbit by a carrier rocket“ as announced by North Korea.

Both a ballistic Missile Launch and an artificial satellite launch share the need for technology such as the development of large-scale propulsion units, separation of multi-stage propulsion devices, and attitude and propulsion control. It is therefore presumed that this launch has enabled North Korea to verify the various technical issues to increase the performance of ballistic missiles.

On the launch, an object considered as the first-stage propulsion device was separated, and the second-stage propulsion device and other part was presumed to have flown over 3,000km. Compared to the failed Taepodong-2 Missile Launch in 2006, it is therefore considered that North Korea has made progress in extending the range of its ballistic missiles.

Generally speaking, there is a possibility that the influx of materials and technologies into the country from outside is an important factor in the background of the rapid progress in missile development by North Korea with few launch tests. At the same time, North Korea is also considered to carry out ballistic missile tests in countries to which North Korea exports ballistic missiles and to utilize the results.



 

3. Impact on Japan's security

Since North Korea is considered to have been able to use this launch to verify the necessary technologies, there is a high possibility that it will further promote the development of longer-range ballistic missiles in the future.

Long-range ballistic missile tests are also thought to contribute to extending the range, increasing the payload weight and enhancing the target accuracy of other short-range ballistic missiles so the latest launch may lead to improvements in North Korea‘s No-dong and other ballistic missiles.

There are also concerns that progresses in North Korea's ballistic missile development as a result of this launch may cause further transfer and proliferation of ballistic missiles and their related technologies among countries whose cooperation in the development of ballistic missiles has been suspected.

This launch, in addition to North Korea‘s ballistic missile development and deployment, constitutes a destabilizing factor in terms of transfer and proliferation not only in our region but also the entire international community. Such trend is deeply concerned.

 

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