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

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

The MSDF destroyer 'Harusame' departing from Yokosuka Port as part of 2nd DSPE
The MSDF destroyer 'Harusame' departing from Yokosuka Port as part of 2nd DSPE

Since 30 March 2009, the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has been engaged in escort operations in order to counteract piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. On 24 July, the 'Anti-Piracy Measures Law' came into effect, thus enabling the MSDF to provide protection against acts of piracy to not only Japan-related ships but also foreign ships.

In addition to operations by destroyers, the MSDF has also been carrying out patrol operations in the Gulf of Aden since 11 June by using P-3C patrol aircraft. On 6 July, destroyers 'Harusame' and 'Amagiri' departed Yokosuka Base as the 2nd Deployment Surface force, and started escort operations under Anti-Piracy Measures Law on 28 July. Destroyers 'Sazanami' and 'Samidare' of the 1st Deployment Surface returned to homeport Kure Base on 16 August. Under the order for maritime security operation, the 1st Deployment Surface force conducted 41 escort missions for 121 Japan-related vessels.

P-3C patrol aircraft in patrol operations
P-3C patrol aircraft in patrol operations

Outline & Achievements of Dispatched Units

Air unit

  1. 1. Formation
    • ・ P-3C maritime patrol aircraft: x 2
    • ・ Dispatched personnel: approx. 150
      (approx. 100 MSDF & 50 GSDF personnel)
  2. 2. Mission Achievements (11 June - 30 September)
    • ・ Flight operations: 72 flights
    • ・ Flight time: approx. 570 hours
    • ・ Confirmed merchant vessel : approx. 4800 vessels
    • ・ Provision of information to escort vessels, foreign naval ships & private merchant vessels: approx. 400 times
  3. 3. Cases of provision of information
    1. (1) On 1 July, a Japanese P-3C aircraft was engaged in patrol operations when it received information via international VHF regarding the presence of a suspicious boat. The P-3C went to the site, but did not find anything particularly susupect and reported as such to nearby commercial ships and warships.
    2. (2) On 10 July, the Indian vessel 'Nafeya' was attacked and hijacked by pirates. On 14 July, a Japanese P-3C took and provided photographs of the 'Nafeya' to relevant countries after receiving information that a French warship was pursuing the pirates who were on the run using the 'Nafeya'.
    3. (3) On 17 July, a Japanese P-3C received information from a commercial ship via a foreign warship regarding the presence of a suspicious boat in the commercial ship’s surroundings. The P-3C went to the site and identified the said commercial ship. The P-3C did not find anything suspect and reported as such to the commercial ship that originated the report.
    4. (4) On July 24, a Japanese P-3C received information from a foreign warship regarding a susupisious boat. The P-3C visually confirmed that a ladder was loaded on the boat in question. Thereafter, it seemed as if the ladder was disposed of by the susupected pirates. The P-3C reported as such to the foreign warship.
    5. (5) On 31 July, a Japanese P-3C aircraft was engaged in patrol operations when it identified a skiff with a ladder loaded on it, approximately 30 nautical miles ahead of the Japanese destroyer “Amagiri”',which was engaged in an escort operation. The “Amagiri” launched its on-board helicopter, which identified the skiff in question.
    6. (6) On 14 August, the P-3C received information from a foreign warship about the location of a pirate mother ship which was suspected of having conducted piracy activities that day. Investigationg the area, the P-3C did not detect any suspicious boats, and therefore, reported this information to nearby commercial ships and foreign warshps that the area was clear and returned to daily patrol operations.
    7. (7) On 16 August, the P-3C received information about an ongoing piracy incident and set course toward the incident site. However, there were only 3 commercial ships in the area, which were not deemed suspicious. The P-3C reported this information to nearby commercial ships and foreign warships and returned to daily patrol operations.
    8. (8) On 19 August, the P-3C patrol aircraft which was engaged in patrol operations, detected a suspicious anchored boat with contents including a ladder. The boat began to sail toward a nearby tanker. The P-3C reported this information to commercial ships and foreign warsips sailing nearby. A German warship which was participating in EU NAVFOR received this information, set course toward the susupected boat, and conducted an on-board inspection. They seized and disposed of weapons, such as AK-47s. The boat and its crew were released. The P-3C patrol aircraft received a message from EU NAVFOR stating, “Thank you for excellent teamwork.” The P-3C also received a message from the tanker that was on the course of the suspected boat stating,”Now, suspected boat is clear.So thank you very much. We appreciate all of your advice.”
    9. (9) On 22 August, the P-3C which was engaged in patrol operations, detected a suspicious boat with contents including a ladder. The P-3C provided this information to nearby commercial ships and foreign warshps. A Netherlands’ warship which was participating in EU NAVFOR received this information and lauched a helicopter which fired warning shots to prevent the suspected boat from escape. In addition, a Norwegian warship which was participating in EU NAVFOR set course toward the suspected boat, launched speed RIB's, and conducted an on-board inspection. The discovered and disposed of ladders and weapons, such as rocket propelled grenades. The boat and its crew were released. The P-3C received a message from EU NAVFOR stating, “Thank you once again for your excellent cooperation.”

2nd Deployment Surface Force

  • 1. Formation
    • ・ Destroyers: x2 (JMSDF destroyers Harusame & Amagiri)
    • ・ Patrol helicopters
    • ・ Dispatched destroyer personnel: approx. 400 (200/vessel)
  • 2. Achievements of anti-piracy operations
     (30 July - 30 September)
    • ・ Total: 150 vessels

      Japanese merchant vessels: 1
      Foreign-registered vessels operated by Japanese shipping companies: 57 (including 5 vessel with Japanese crew members)
      Other foreign-registered merchant vessels: 92

  • 3. Cases of responses to small craft
    1. (1) At 16:56 on 31 July, a P-3C conducting patrol operation sighted a small boat equipped with a ladder approximately 30 nautical miles ahead of the destroyer 'Amagiri'. The Amagiri launched its on-board helicopter and confirmed the status of the boat.
    2. (2) At 00:23 on 5 August, the Harusame sighted a suspicious small boat approximately 3.5 nautical miles off its starboard bow in the north-north-west direction. The Harusame hailed the vessel using a long range acoustic device (LRAD) and launched its on-board helicopter to verify the status of the boat.

DEFENSE POLICY

Publication of the 2009 Defense White Paper

P-3C patrol aircraft in patrol operations
Anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the in the Gulf of Aden

■ Outline of 2009 defense white paper "Defense of Japan"


Part I: The Security Environment surrounding Japan
  • Overview
  • Chapter 1:Issues in the International Community
  • Chapter 2:National Defense Policies of Countries
Part II: The Basics of Japan's Defense Policy and Build-up of Defense Capability
  • Chapter 1:The Basic Concepts of Japan's Defense Policy and Related Issues
  • Chapter 2:The National Defense Program Guidelines and Build-up of Defense Capability
Part III: Measures for the Defense of Japan
  • Chapter 1:Operation of the Self-Defense Forces for the Defense of Japan and Responses to Diverse Situations
  • Chapter 2:Strengthening of Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements
  • Chapter 3:Improving the International Security Environment
  • Chapter 4:Citizens of Japan, the Ministry of Defense and the SDF
Part IV: Reform of the Ministry of Defense
  • Section 1: Council for Reforming the Ministry of Defense
  • Section 2: Efforts for Realizing the Reform of the Ministry of Defense
  • Section 3: Other Efforts
* A provisional English translation of the 'Defense of Japan' is available on the MoD website.

The Japan's 2009 defense white paper entitled "Defense of Japan" was released on 17 July and commercially published on 21 July 2009.

The defense white paper is annually published in order to raise awareness among Japan's citizens of national defense policies as well as the key events in the past year concerning the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). The paper is also intended to promote understanding and trust of foreign countries for the sake of the transparency of Japan's defense policies.

Part I of this year's white paper describes the MoD's recognition of international situation, the defense policies of other nations which may have an influence on Japan's security, and the situation in the surrounding region.

Specifically, the paper reports on North Korea's move to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles including its ballistic missile launch conducted in April and nuclear test carried out in May 2009, and expresses the MoD's concerns regarding the transfer and proliferation of these weapons.

The paper also describes China's efforts to modernize its military force, its intensified maritime activities, and recent remarks by the country's senior military officials on the acquisition of aircraft carriers, as well as China's efforts to bolster both its military use of space and cyber-warfare capabilities, while indicating the lack of transparency in its national defense budget details and the unclearness of the future vision for its military.

Part II of the white paper outlines for the first time the MoD's initiatives concerning the development & use of space following the enactment of the Basic Space Law, as well as its ocean policy initiatives including the SDF's anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

Part III describes the MoD's response to North Korea's missile launch in April of this year, as well as its disaster relief dispatch activities and response to the new-type flu.

The paper explains the current status of Japan-U.S. security arrangements such as initiatives for the realignment of the USFJ and describes the various measures aimed at ensuring their effectiveness and enhancing reliability.

The paper also presents the MoD's proactive efforts on its own initiative in the arena of the international peace cooperation activities including JSDF activities in Iraq and the Indian Ocean, as well as the dispatch of JSDF instructors to the PKO center in Egypt. Part IV mentions reforms the of the MoD, describing the establishment of the Council for Reforming the Ministry of Defense and efforts for the reform of the MoD as well as the up-to-date information on the reform.

This year's white paper reports on the domestic and overseas activities of the JSDF clearly in an easily-digestible format and presents the real pictures of both the MoD and JSDF through columns addressing important matters pertaining to Japan's security, including the voices of actual JSDF personnel as who engage in their daily duties related to the matters.


Shooting training from a light armored vehicle
/Photograph from the self defense white paper

Recruiting personnel for the SDF

GSDF personnel engaging in disposal of an unexploded ordenance
/Photograph from the self defense white paper

Airlift squadron in the Iraq Reconstruction Support
/Photograph from the self defense white paper

Unijima Sub Base,seen from the main island of Tsushima
(Korea can be seen on the opposite shore)

PAC-3 missiles deployed in the Tohoku region
/Photograph from the self defense white paper

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

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