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.16

Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Review Officer (center) with Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Kazuya Shimba, and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Daizo Kusuda (left) and Commander in Chief, Self Defense Fleet, Vice Admiral Masahiko Sugimoto (right)



Tokyo Defense Forum

Minister of Defense Toshimi Kitazawa at the 14th Tokyo Defense Forum
Minister of Defense Toshimi Kitazawa at the 14th Tokyo Defense Forum The Forum was attended by representatives from 23 Asia-Pacific nations as well as the EU and ICRC
The Forum was attended by representatives from 23 Asia-Pacific nations as well as the EU and ICRC

The 14th Tokyo Defense Forum (Forum for Defense Authorities in the Asia-Pacific Region; TDF) was held on October 6 and 9. The TDF is an international conference hosted by the Ministry of Defense , launched in 1996, which is attended by senior government officials in charge of national defense policy and defense exchanges throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The aim of the TDF is to promote mutual understanding and transparency through discussion of national defense policy and other issues.

There were two main topics at this year’s TDF. In Session I, participants discussed topic, “Civil-Military Coordination in Disaster Relief.” The session was aimed at exchanging opinions, focusing on coordination and procedures for civil-military cooperation in the event of a disaster in order to ensure smoother implementation of international disaster relief activities.

In Session II, under the topic “National Defense Policies,” opinions were exchanged about recent developments in the national defense policies of participant countries.

The TDF was attended by 23 Asia-Pacific countries (Australia, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Kingdom of Cambodia, Canada, People’s Republic of China, India, Republic of Indonesia, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Union of Myanmar, New Zealand, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Republic of Singapore, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Kingdom of Thailand, The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and Socialist Republic of Vietnam) as well as the European Union (EU) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Forum was chaired by Mr. Hiroshi Oe, Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Japan.

· Session I: Civil-Military Coordination in Disaster Relief

In Session I, participants raised the observation that disaster relief needs effective and efficient civil-military cooperation and coordination.

Some participants mentioned the need to raise awareness among the local populace to reduce concerns about the presence of foreign armed forces deployed for disaster relief. Regarding that point, there was an opinion that foreign armed forces should be sensitive to the local populace affected by natural disasters. Some participants mentioned that it was necessary to consider measures to share know-how on disaster relief through training for capacity-building of the armed forces of each country. It was also pointed out by some participants that it was important to share lessons learnt in disasters quickly among various countries. Modalities of these could be worked through in future discussions.

· Session II: National Defense Policies

In Session II, participants recognized that enhancing the transparency of each country’s defense policies and capabilities was a significant confidence-building measure, which could lead to the prevention of conflicts caused by mistrust and misunderstanding. Participants also agreed that proper understanding of each countries’ defense intentions and capabilities and frequent exchanges of views as those in this session, will provide a basis for greater trust among countries.

Further, participants referred to their recognition of recent challenges for defense authorities, including emerging threats and diverse contingencies such as international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed states, transnational crime, maritime security, shifting distribution of economic, political and military power, economic crisis, global demographic change, climate change, natural disasters epidemics and environmental and resource pressure.


Collision involving Destroyer Kurama

On October 27, MSDF Destroyer Kurama collided with the South Korean registered container ship Karina Star in the Kanmon Straits. The collision caused major damage to the bow of the Kurama and a part of the starboard bow of the Karina Star with the outbreak of fires on both vessels. Six crew members of the Kurama suffered minor injuries while fighting the fire.

Separate investigations were launched by the Transport Safety Board of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT), the 7th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters, and the Accidents Investigation Commission of the Maritime Self-Defense Force.


Self-Defense Forces Fleet Review

Destroyer Kongo
Destroyer Kongo LCAC
LCAC US-1A search and rescue plane
US-1A search and rescue plane Fast Missile Craft Otaka
Fast Missile Craft Otaka Submarine surfacing
Submarine surfacing

The 2009 Fleet Review of the Self-Defense Forces was held on October 25 at Sagami Bay off Kanagawa prefecture. This event involved 40 vessels, 43 aircraft and about 8,000 personnel.

At 9:00 a.m., the review vessel Kurama left the port of Yokosuka with Minister of Defense Toshimi Kitazawa, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Kazuya Shimba, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Daizo Kusuda, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff, General Ryoichi Oriki, Chief of Staff, GSDF, General Yoshifumi Hibako, Chief of Staff, MSDF, Admiral Keiji Akaboshi and Chief of Staff, ASDF, General Kenichiro Hokazono, as well as members of the National Diet and some 400 guests. Acting as review officer on behalf of Prime Minister Hatoyama who was attending the East Asia Summit, Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan arrived at Kurama by a MSDF SH-60K patrol helicopter when the vessel reached the Miura peninsula and reviewed the guard of honor.

When Deputy Prime Minister Kan mounted the reviewing platform, the fleet review started with the flagship Ashigara appearing in low cloud and on rough seas. The review featured seven destroyers, including the helicopter destroyer Hyuga and the destroyer Sazanami, which recently returned from anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. Three submarines, three minesweepers, two fast missile crafts, two LCAC ships, a replenishment ship, a transport ship and a Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel were reviewed one after another.

In the next phase, P-3C patrol planes, US-1A and US-2 amphibious search and rescue planes, SH-60J patrol helicopters, UH-60J rescue helicopters and MH-53E minesweeping helicopters from the Maritime Self-Defense Forces as well as CH-47J helicopters from the Ground Self-Defense Force conducted a fly-by for the review.

After the conclusion of the review, all vessels and aircraft headed for the sea area for a demonstration exercise, which was started with a gun salute from the destroyers Hatakaze and Sawakaze.

The demonstration exercise included the submarine Wakashio and Natsushio conducting surface and diving; SH-60K helicopters taking off from the helicopter destroyer Hyuga; and US-2 amphibious planes demonstrating take-offs and landings on water. To conclude the exercise, P-3C patrol planes dropped anti-submarine bombs and IR flares.

After that, at the conclusion of the event, Deputy Prime Minister Kan gave an address that in the age of globalization, the activities of Self-Defense Forces had been expanding overseas and he hoped that the SDF would contribute to the global peace and stability on Japan's own initiative and under its democratic control.

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