Defense Activities

Ministerial Succceession Ceremony

Defense Minister Tanaka receiving a formal salute
Defense Minister Tanaka receiving a formal salute
Defense Minister Tanaka addressing Defense personnel at the appointment ceremony
Defense Minister Tanaka addressing Defense personnel at the appointment ceremony

On January 13 Naoki Tanaka took office as Japan’s tenth Minister of Defense. Prime Minister Noda gave six individual orders to the new Defense Minister Tanaka, including recovering the trust of local Okinawan citizens in aim of realizing the transfer of Futenma Air Station, deepening and developing the Japan-United States Alliance, active peacekeeping operation (PKO) efforts, and doing everything possible to ensure the protection of the lives and property of national citizens.

The succession ceremony was held at the Ministry of Defense on January 16, where the new minister gave instructions to some 800 personnel including executive officials.Minister Tanaka touched on defense issues surrounding Japan, including North Korea’s development of nuclearweapons, the rapid increase in defense spending of China and its active operations in neighboring seas, and the increasing military activities of Russia. The minister continued by saying that he would work to expand equipment resources and strengthen training drills based on the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-Term Defense Program.

Moreover, while touching on the fact that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which went into effect in 1952, and that the Japan-U.S. security arrangements are the main pillar of Japan’s national defense, Minister Tanaka emphasized that it would be vital to deepen the alliance. The minister also commented on the necessity of cooperating with neighboring countries from the perspective of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, as security can no longer be secured through the individual efforts by a single country alone.

Furthermore, in light of the importance of the overseas activities of the SDF, such as international relief operations and PKO, Minister Tanaka expressed his intention to actively promote such overseas activities and to address crisis management so as to ensure full preparation for various contingencies and disasters.

Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Shu Watanabe, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Mitsu Shimojo, and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Hideo Jinpu stay in their present positions.

Former Defense Minister Ichikawa being presented a bouquet from ministry staff
Former Defense Minister Ichikawa being presented a bouquet from ministry staff

The same day, former Defense Minister Ichikawa carried out his farewell ceremony in the Ministry of Defense Auditorium. Addressing the ministry personnel, former Defense Minister Ichikawa said that he was moved by how the SDF worked behind the scenes in such a straightforward and selfless manner. He expressed his gratitude, saying, “I would like to thank all ministry personnel for supporting me in making various important decisions.”

After a formal salute, the former minister was given a send-off by ministry staff that had formed a line continuing until ministry’s entrance.

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