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.15



Defense Council

Opening of the First Defense Council
Opening of the First Defense Council

The first meeting of the Defense Council took place on August 4 2009.The Defense Council is an organ newly established on August 1 of this year on the basis of the revised Defense Ministry Establishment Law as part of the Defense Ministry reforms designed to reinforce the Defense Minister's advisory system.

The Defense Council comprises the Minister of Defense (Chairman), Parliamentary Senior vice Minister of Defense, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense, Special Advisers to the Minister of Defense, Administrative Vice- Minister of Defense, Minister’s Secretariat, Directors General, all Chiefs of staff, and Director General, Intelligence Headquarters.

At the beginning of the meeting, the then Minister of Defense (then) Hamada stated as follows:
"The first stage of the reform of the Defense Ministry involves abolishing the Defense Counsellor system, setting up a position of Special Advisor to the Minister of Defense and establishing this new Defense Council. In order to reinforce the system for assisting the Minister of Defense, this Defense Council was legally established by law as an organ where The Minister of Defense and other political appointees, the top civilian and uniformed SDF personnel deliberate on basic policies related to matters under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense.

For all of us here, it is my earnest wish that this Defense Council will be a forum for the discussion of the various issues that we face, and it will serve to solidly assist the Minister of Defense to make proper judgments."

Following the above statement there was an explanation of the proceeding of the Defense Council in order to ensure common understanding.

To the Special Advisors to the Minister of Defense established after the abolition of the Defense Counsellor system, Professor Satoshi Morimoto of the Graduate School of Takushoku University was appointed and attended as member to the Defense Council.The Special Advisors to the Minister of Defense provide advice to the minister with regard to important matters relating to the jurisdiction of Ministry of Defense, and upon the orders of the Minister, offer their opinions to the Minister.


The christening and launch ceremony for the helicopter destroyer, Ise (a project started in 2006)

The Ise is launched amidst masses of waving colored tapes

The christening and launch ceremony for the helicopter destroyer (DDH) Ise (a project started in 2006) took place on August 21 at the IHI Marine United factory in Yokohama's Isogo ward.

The ceremony was attended by Parliamentary Vice- Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi, MSDF Chief of Staff Keiji Akahoshi, Deputy Director General, the Equipment Procurement and Construction Office Masao Hosoya, President of IHI Marine United Shigemi Kurahara, and the President of IHI Corporation Kazuaki Kama.

In front of persons involved with the building of the ship, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Minister Kishi proclaimed "I name this vessel Ise". After that, stays were cut, a decorative paper ball was split into two the banner draping the bow parted, masses of ticker tapes filled the air, fireworks exploded, and the Ise was launched. The "Ise" is the name of the old domain that corresponds to most of present-day Mie prefecture.

The Ise belongs to the Yokosuka base and is the second 13,500 ton Hyuga-class destroyer. Main data: length: 197.0m, maximum width: 33.0m, height: 22.0m, draft: 7.0m, main propulsion: COGAG-configured gas turbines (four engines, two shafts), shaft horsepower: 100,000 ps, speed: Approx. 30 knots, crew: Approx. 380.

Ordinarily the ship can carry three patrol helicopters, and its main weapons include two high performance 20mm machine guns, a vertical launching system (VLS), and two three-tube lightweit torpedo launchers. This is the MSDF biggest destroyer and is able to carry not only helicopters of the Marine Self-Defense force, but those of the Ground Self-Defense Force and the Air Self-Defense Force too. With ample inboard space, the ship can be employed flexibly and can serve as a local headquarters to respond to large-scale disasters and others.

The Ise is due to be delivered to the Maritime Self-Defense Force in March 2011 and will be commissioned as an escort ship replacing the Hiei.


Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) and Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS)

PACC participants
PACC participants

Chief of Staff, U.S. Army General Casey and Chief of S t a f f , JGSDF G e n e r a l Hibako shake hands at the joint press conference.
Commanding General of the GSDF Ground Research Toshiyuki Morotomi and Commanding General of the United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) LieutenantGeneral Benjamin Mixon.

The 6 th Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) and 33 rd Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS) were held in Tokyo from 24-28 August.

PACC is aimed at developing & enhancing interpersonal relationships and promoting security cooperation among the armies chiefs of Asia-Pacific nations through exchange of their opinions. The PACC is jointly held every two years by the U.S. and one of the participating nations on a rotating basis. This year marks the sixth conference and it has been convened in Japan for the first time. JGSDF Chief of Staff General Yoshifumi Hibako and U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George Casey, Jr. co-hosted the event which was attended by representatives from 22 nations.

PAMS is aimed at developing & enhancing interpersonal relationships and improving understanding of challenges and issues among the senior-level army officers (ranked from lieutenant colonel to major general) of Asia-Pacific nations through exchange of views. PAMS is jointly held every year by the U.S. and one of the participating nations on a rotating basis. This year marks the thirty-third seminar and the second time it has been held in Japan following the 24 th PAMS convened in 2000. Commanding General of the JGSDF Ground Research and Development Command (GRDC) Lieutenant General Toshiyuki Morotomi and Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), Lieutenant General Benjamin Mixon co-hosted the seminar which was attended by representatives from 27 nations.

PACC and PAMS were held simultaneously with one theme and related four topics on which opinions were exchanged.

This year's theme was "International Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) in Natural and Human-induced Disasters". The following topics were also addressed.

  1. 1. The Natural & Human-induced Disasters that Land Forces should prepare for and lessons learned from past disasters.
  2. 2. The Role that Land Forces should play in CIMIC/ Interagency cooperation Building in DRO.
  3. 3. Issues to be addressed on building-up of international cooperation in DRO based on the past experiences and lessons learned.
  4. 4. Developing commanders and soldiers for DRO.

In his speech at the PACC/PAMS joint opening ceremony, then Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada stated "The number of natural disasters and disaster victims worldwide in the past 10 years has trebled compared to the 1970s. Disaster relief operations conducted by the military are the subject of ever-higher expectations, and play a crucial role in eliminating one of the causes of regional instability and laying the foundation for prosperity. International DRO carried out by Japan's Self-Defense Forces constitutes means to stabilize the environment in the Asia Pacific region, and we are committed to actively providing our cooperation in the future".

Representatives from participating nations lively exchanged their opinions under the theme throughout the duration of the conference thus establishing & enhancing interpersonal relationships and fostering security in the region.

Commenting on the results of the conference, JGSDF Chief of Staff General Yoshifumi Hibako said "This is the largest scale of coference held by Japan's Ground Self- Defense Force after its foundation, and we have succeeded in appealing the sincere attitude of the Ministry of Defense and JGSDF in engaging in international disaster relief operations. I also believe that we have enhanced our relationships with participating countries and contributed to promoting the creation of a security environment in the Asia Pacific region”.

“By our “OMOTENASHI” that means utmost and sincere hospitality as the host nation, we have also succeeded in building confidence in Japan among participating countries by giving them opportunity to experience Japanese traditions & culture to understand the positive aspects of our country. In the future, I would like to use this experience as a foundation for expanding our exchanges with other nations. I also hope that studies will be further promoted to construct the international framework to cope with natural and human-induced disasters.".

DRO: Disaster Relief Operation
CIMIC: Civil Military Cooperation


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