MSDF Destroyer “Setogiri” escorting civilian vessel
JDF Ministry of Defense Japan Defense Focus The Latest News on the Ministry of Defense and Self-Defense Forces
No.20 JANUARY 2011

MSDF Destroyer “Setogiri” escorting civilian vessel

International Peace Cooperation Activities in Haiti

Developing work for hospital/school Building performed by SDF personnel
Developing work for hospital/school Building performed by SDF personnel

The 3rd Unit of International Relief Team to Haiti (Commander, Colonel Sasaki, approximately 330 personnel) which took over duties from the 2nd unit in August, 2010, has currently been engaged in the United Nations Stabilization Mission In Haiti (MINUSTAH) U.N. PKO, where the 3rd unit is involved in the work including dismantling collapsed buildings, and clearing away rubble in Port-au-Prince.

Due to the decision of the United Nations Security Council to extend the operations of the stabilization mission in Haiti until October 2011, the relief activities of Japan have also been extended until January 31, 2012.

Since October 2010, cholera infection has been spreading, primarily in central Haiti, and MINUSTAH has commenced infection prevention measures. In order to enable SDF units to cooperate in the cholera countermeasures implemented by MINUSTAH, medical work including epidemic control measures in, has been newly added to the action plan in line with Article 3 of the International Peace Cooperation Law.

Since November 2010, at the “Malpasset Orphanage” where the Self-Defense Force Engineer Unit performed land-clearing operations, the unit has been provided with the building materials through the UN’s Quick Impact Projects (QIPs), and constructed residential facilities for children and warehouses. The unit is involved in such activities to sustain the contribution to Haiti.

SDF personnel engaging in dismantling work
SDF personnel engaging in dismantling work

The Engineer Unit (approximately 330 personnel), is engaged in duties mainly in the capital Port-au-Prince, including clearing away rubble, land leveling, road repair, and facilities construction. As of December 8, 2010, it had been involved in a total of 69 duties, including 18 in rubble clearing, 16 in land leveling and reclamation, 5 in road repair, 11 in facilities and other construction, 6 in transport, and 13 other activities. 6 out of 69 are underway.

What are QIPs

“QIPs” are the U.N. programs, where it allocates the U.N. budget to activities which will be able to make them smooth and enhance the image of the U.N., with the small amount of money and short time.
Specially, the programs include as follows:

1) infrastructural improvement, 2) provision of basic services including water, sanitation and education, 3) human resource development, and 4) employment creation.

End of International Disaster Relief activities in Pakistan

Group photo of the International Disaster Relief Air Support Unit in Pakistan
Group photo of the International Disaster Relief Air Support Unit in Pakistan

On October 10, SDF concluded its duties in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where it had been providing international disaster relief activities since the country was hit by large-scale flooding.

During the period from August 31 until October 10, the International Disaster Relief Air Support Unit in Pakistan carried out the mission to transport 260.0 tons of relief material and 49 people with three transport helicopters (CH-47), and three multi-purpose helicopters (UH-1). As the situation improved, the demands for air transport gradually decreased, and at the request of the Pakistani government to conclude these activities, on October 5, Defense Minister Kitazawa issued an order to terminate international disaster relief activities effective October 10.

As senior officials of Pakistani government and United Nations have expressed their gratitude for SDF’s disaster relief activities, SDF won highly praise from the international communities.

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

The 5th surface unit (Commander: Captain Yasuhiko Shinomura, about 420 members) which had engaged in the anti-piracy operations off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden returned to Yokosuka and were welcomed by MSDF personnel and their families on October 15. The 5th surface unit, which had been composed of two destroyers “Murasame” (Commanding Officer: Commander Masataka Kanno) and “Yugiri” (Commanding Officer: Commander Toru Suzuki), conducted 34 convoy escorts over a three-month period between 5 June and 16 September, escorting a total of 307 civilian vessels sailing through the waters.

Operational activity conducted by the surface unit in the region

Operation activity from October to December 2010

  1. Number of escort operations: 26 (The 180th to 205th escort operations) (The 139th to 164th escort operations under Japan’s Anti-Piracy Measures Law)
  2. Number of escorted vessels: 236 (Accumulated total of 1,394 since the commencement of escort operations)

Japanese-registered ships: 0 (Accumulated total of 9) Foreign ships operated by Japanese shipping companies: 42 (Accumulated total of 326) (Out of the 42 foreign ships, Japanese citizens were on board 0 ships) Foreign ships other than the above: 194 (Accumulated total of 1,059) (Out of 194 foreign ships, Japanese citizens were on board 3 ships)

  1. * The above record does not include the 1st-41st escort operation performed as Maritime Security Activities, which were performed before the establishment of the Anti-Piracy Measures Law.
  2. * If the Anti-Piracy Measures Law had not come into force, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers would not have been able to legally escort 191 of the 236 escorted vessels (the 191 foreign ships not operated by Japanese shipping companies.)

The 5th air unit, commanded by Captain Toshiaki Ono, consisted of about 150 personnel), engaged in flight operations with P-3C Patrol Aircraft in the Gulf of Aden, completed its 333rd surveillance flight mission on 24 October 2010.

Operational activity of P-3C Patrol Aircraft in the region)

Operational activity from October to December 2010

  1. Number of flights: 63 (Accumulated total of 381)
  2. Flight hours: Approximately 510 hours (Accumulated total of approximately 2,930 hours)
  3. Number of visually confirmed commercial ships: Approximately 5,400 (Accumulated total of approximately 27,700)
  4. Number of times information was provided to Japanese destroyers, foreign warships, and/or commercial ships: Approximately 700 (Accumulated total of approximately 3,430 times)

Example of information provided

On 16 November, a MSDF P-3C which was engaged in patrol operations detected a small-sized suspicious boat with one engine, two ladders, and carrying four people. The information was provided to a nearby commercial ship and foreign naval vessel. The suspicious boat attempted to approach a tanker, but the tanker was able to avoid the attack.

On 13 December, a MSDF P-3C which was engaged in patrol operations received a request to detect from U.S. warship and began a search for a suspicious small boat. The P-3C detected the suspicious boat (with two ladders and four passengers). After this information was provided to the U.S. warship, where after a U.S. ship-based helicopter was dispatched to handle the situation and the P-3C returned to its normal surveillance activities.

SM-3 test launch conducted

SM-3 missile launched from MSDF Aegis Destroyer “Kirishima”
SM-3 missile launched from MSDF Aegis Destroyer “Kirishima”

On October 29 (Japan time), the MSDF’s Aegis destroyer Kirishima, which was recently upgraded to add ballistic missile defense (BMD) capabilities, carried out a flight test of the SM-3 missile off the Kauai Island, Hawaii.

The flight test began with the launch of a mock ballistic missile as a target from US Navy missile test launch facilities in Kauai Island at 12:06(Japan Time). Three minutes later, the Aegis destroyer Kirishima launched an SM-3 missile and successfully struck the target outside the atmosphere.