Defense Minister Kitazawa observing the drill
No.21 MARCH 2011

Defense Minister Kitazawa observing the drill

International peace cooperation activities in Haiti

River dredging work in Leogane
River dredging work in Leogane

The 3rd Unit of International Relief Team to Haiti (Commander, Colonel Sasaki, approximately 330 personnel) engaged in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the United Nations’ PKO, has performed their mission, in activities such as clearing rubble from streets in the capital city, Port-au-Prince. The unit built “Malpasset Orphanage” through the United Nations’ Quick Impact Projects (QIPs). “Malpasset Orphanage” was handed over to the authorities on January 25 (local time).

Construction “Malpasset Orphanage”
Construction “Malpasset Orphanage”

In addition, the 3rd unit cooperated with the engineering unit of the Republic of Korea on river dredging work in the city of Leogane.

On February 18 (local time), the command was transferred from the 3rd Unit to the 4th Unit. The 4th Unit is the first Japanese PKO unit in that dispatching six female SDF personnel to Haiti. It has been working and currently involved in activities such as the demolition of the police school facility and the removal of rubble.

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

Crew on duty
Crew on duty

The 7th surface unit (Commander: Captain Hiroshi Ito, about 390 members including 8 Japan Coast Guard offices), departed from Sasebo on December 1, 2010, which was composed of two destroyers “Kirisame” (Commanding Officer: Commander Munekazu Mizutani) and “Yuudachi” (Commanding Officer: Commander Yoshinobu Hayashida) in order to engage in the antipiracy operations off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

Destroyer “Makinami” (Commanding Officer: Commander Tatsuo Akimoto) and destroyer “Setogiri” (Commanding Officer: Commander Masafumi Nishiwaki) in the 6th surface unit (Commander: Captain Shinobu Mifune about 420 members) completed the mission and returned to Sasebo on January 18 and Oominato on January 21, respectively.

The 6th surface unit conducted 28 convoy escorts between September and December 2010, escorting a total of 259 civilian vessels, 28400 kilometers through the waters.

Operational activity conducted by the surface unit in the region

Operation activity in January and February 2011

  1. Number of escort operations: 19 (The 206th to 224th escort operations) (The 165th to 183rd escort operations under Japan’ s Anti-Piracy Measures Law)
  2. Number of escorted vessels: 161 (Accumulated total of 1,555 since the commencement of escort operations)

Japanese-registered ships: 1 (Accumulated total of 10) Foreign ships operated by Japanese shipping companies: 41 (Accumulated total of 367)(Out of the 41 foreign ships, Japanese citizens were on board 1 ships) Foreign ships other than the above: 119 (Accumulated total of 1,178) (Out of 119 foreign ships, Japanese citizens were on board 0 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 181 of the 161 escorted vessels (the 118 foreign ships not operated by Japanese shipping companies.)

Two P-3C Patrol Aircraft of the 6th air unit (commanded by Captain Masaaki Moritake, consisted of about 170 personnel), departed from Naha Airbase MSDF for Djibouti. The 5th air unit (commanded by Captain Toshiaki Ono, consisted of about 150 personnel) finished its mission and returned to Atsugi Airbase MSDF on February 3. The 5th air unit conducted 80 flights, about 640 flight hours, and confirmed visually about 6700 commercial ships and provided information approx. 860 times.

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

Operational activity in January and February 2011

Number of flights: 37 (Accumulated total of 418) Fl ight hour s : Approxima tely 290 hours (Accumulated total of approximately 3,220 hours) Number of visually confirmed commercial ships: Approximately 2,910 (Accumulated total of approximately 30,620)

Number of times information was provided to Japanese destroyers, foreign warships, and/or commercialships:Approximately 350 (Accumulated total of approximately 3,780 times)

(Example of information provided)
On January 2, a MSDF P-3C which was engaged in patrol operations detected a suspicious boat with a ladder, and carrying seven people. The information was provided to a nearby U.S. warship, and it dispatched ship-based helicopter. Later-on, U.S. conducted an on-board inspection and found AK-47’s magazine filled with bullet and knives.

On January12 , requested by CMF (Combined Maritime Force), a MSDF P-3C which had been engaged in patrol operations went to verify the commercial ship which came to be out of contact after claiming that it had been attacked by pirates. P-3C visually confirmed that a ladder-like item was leaned and provided this information to a Turkish warship, and dispatched her ship-based helicopter to handle the situation and the P-3C returned to its normal surveillance activities.

International disaster relief activities for New Zealand earthquake victims

In response to the earthquake that hit the Southern Island of New Zealand on February 22, Minister of Defense Kitazawa issued an order to implement international disaster relief activities on February 23, after the consultation by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and based on the order, the Self-Defense Force organized the New Zealand International Disaster Relief Air Transport Unit. This Unit transported members and equipment of the Disaster Relief Rescue Team etc., by a special government aircraft (B-747) from Japan to the devastated area, Christchurch, on the same day.

After this mission, the special government aircraft was on stand-by in Auckland in New Zealand, for further activities about a week. However, on a request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the aircraft left Christchurch for Japan on March 2 with members of the Disaster Relief Rescue Team and its equipment. On March 3, it arrived in Japan, and the activity of the Air Support Unit came to an end.

New fighter IPT holds first meeting

Defense Minister Kitazawa at IPT meeting
Defense Minister Kitazawa at IPT meeting

On January 7, 2011, the Ministry of Defense established an Integrated Project Team (IPT) for the acquisition of new fighters, and the first meeting was held.

The meeting was attended by about 20 people, including Defense Minister Kitazawa, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Azumi, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Hirota, Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense Nakae, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff, General Oriki, Chief of Staff A.S.D.F., General Iwasaki, Director General, Minister’s Secretariat, Kanazawa, Director General, Bureau of Defense Policy, Takamizawa, and Director General, Bureau of Finance and Equipment Nishi.

The IPT is comprised of directors of divisions from the Internal Bureau, Joint Staff, Air Staff Office, and Equipment Procurement and Construction Office. This project team is a working team to carry out an inter-organ-study for the acquisition of new fighters.

Drop Drill of 1st Airborne Brigade, Ground Self-Defense Force

Personnel descending from UH-1 helicopter
Personnel descending from UH-1 helicopter

On January 9, the 1st Airborne Brigade, Ground Self-Defense Force held a drop drill at the Narashino Training Ground.

A total of 11,000 people including Defense Minister Kitazawa, Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense Nakae, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff, General Oriki, Chief of Staff, GSDF General Hibako, as well as other dignitaries including National Diet members, representatives of the U.S. Forces, and visitors observed the drill.

The drop drill was performed by 400 personnel from the 1st Airborne Brigade and the 1st Helicopter Brigade, as well as the Air Support Command, ASDF and 19 aircraft and 38 vehicles. Led by commander, Major General Yamanoue, the other commanders and youngest personnel in the brigade personnel made parachute jump from a CH-47 transport helicopter.Then, 10 members of reconnaissance members made a 1,400 meters parachute jump, forming a circle during their falling. The pathfinders jumped from UH-1 multi-purpose helicopters and CH-47 helicopters, and entered the front lines, then, about 80 members of the main force jumped from the ASDF C-1 and C-130H transport aircraft in a height of about 340m and landed successively onto the training grounds.

Combat training started immediately after support equipment had been dropped off. The AH-1S antitank helicopter controlled the drop point, while the UH-1 supported the main force by scattering landmines and firing, keeping the enemy’s armored unit back. Then, air and vehicle units came to the front.

After the drill, Defense Minister Kitazawa encouraged the participating personnel, saying, “Based on the concept of dynamic defense force outlined in the new National Defense Program Guideline, a high level of mobility, rapid deployment, and readiness are required of the defense forces. In this sense, the airborne brigade plays an important role. I hope that the Airborne Brigade should become defense capability in a new era.”

Personnel descending from CH-47 helicopter
Personnel jumping from transport aircraft