Commemorative Event for the Anniversary of the Japan Self-Defense Forces
2012 FLEET REVIEW

2012 FLEET REVIEW

The practice of naval review is said to originate in 1341 during the Anglo-French war, when King Edward III surveyed the majesty of his fleets in leading them out on missions.

In Japan, the Fleet Review began in 1868 with the military review held off Tempozan coast in Osaka when the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) welcomed the Emperor Meiji. The military strength at the time had consisted of only six vessels, totally weighing 2,452 tons. The expression “Fleet Review” was first used in the fourth large-scale fleet review exercises held on the Kobe coast in 1900. The 19th Fleet Review, which was the last for the IJN, was held on the Yokohama coast in 1940. This final Review had been a grand affair in which 98 vessels weighing 596,000 tons and 527 aircraft participated.

The MSDF holds Fleet Review every three years as part of the commemorative events for the Anniversary of the SDF. The first Fleet Review was held in 1957. This year marks the 27th convention of the event, which was held at Sagami Bay on October 14.

Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, reviewed as chief inspector the Fleet of 45 vessels, 30 aircraft, and approximately 8,000 personnel. Three foreign vessels also joined the events.

Prime Minister,Yoshihiko Noda, returning the salute by placing his hand the chest
Prime Minister,Yoshihiko Noda, returning the salute by placing his hand the chest

Although some of the flight events were cancelled due to bad weather conditions, members of the Diet, ambassadors to Japan, and military officers, as well as the public observed the event on vessels.

On the day of the Review, the destroyer “Kurama” departed from Yokosuka a little after 9:00 a.m. and headed for Sagami Bay. The vessel carried Defense Minister Morimoto, who was the host of the event, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Nagashima, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Oono, and Administrative Vice-Minister of Defense Kanazawa, MSDF Chief of Staff Kawano, who were responsible for the implementation of the event, Chief of Joint Staff Iwasaki, GSDF Chief of Staff Kimizuka, and ASDF Chief of Staff Kataoka, as well as invited guests.

At slightly past 11:00 a.m., the SH-60K patrol helicopter carrying the Prime Minister landed on the destroyer “Kurama,” which had passed the Uraga Channel on Tokyo Bay. The Prime Minister received a salute from a special guard of honor on the destroyer “Kurama.”

Amphibious and rescue plane US-2
Amphibious and rescue plane US-2
U.S. Navy Aegis cruiser “USS Shiloh”
U.S. Navy Aegis cruiser “USS Shiloh”
Helicopter destroyer “Ise”
Helicopter destroyer “Ise”
Submarine surfacing maneuvers
Submarine surfacing maneuvers
SH-60K patrol helicopter
SH-60K patrol helicopter

Shortly after noon, the Review commenced with the appearance of the state-of-the-art destroyer “Akizuki” leading as the flagship, followed by the 25 vessels and the three foreign vessels participating for celebrations.

Mr. Noda, along with Mr. Morimoto, Mr. Nagashima, Mr. Oono, MSDF Chief of Staff Kawano, Commander-in-Chief of the Self-Defense Fleet Matsushita, and other senior officials, inspected the passing vessels from a reviewing stand set up on the bridge of the destroyer “Kurama.” The troops under review saluted the reviewing officers with manning the rails: a ceremonial assembling of the ship’s crew on deck. In response, Mr. Noda returned the salute by placing his hand on the chest.

The reviewed naval troops consisted of the state-of-theart helicopter destroyer “Ise,” the new type submarine “Kenryu,” and the latest minesweeper “Enoshima” from the minesweeping unit.

Finally, the three foreign vessels–the frigate “HMAS Sydney (IV)” from the Royal Australian Navy, the landing ship “RSS Persistence” from the Singapore Navy, and the U.S. Navy Aegis cruiser “USS Shiloh” carrying Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Scott Swiftsailed in celebration of the event. Vice Admiral Swift saluted the reviewing officers from the “USS Shiloh,” impressing how deep Japan–U.S. ties are on people of both countries.

Next, the air forces were reviewed with the UP-3C patrol aircraft taking the lead. Due to the bad weather conditions, some of the aircraft were unable to participate. Nevertheless, participating aircraft came from behind the reviewing forces, and aircraft including the SH-60K patrol helicopter, UH-60J rescue helicopter, MCH-101 minesweeping helicopter, and MH-53E minesweeping helicopter flew past the spectators.

The display exercises commenced with firing salutes from the destroyer “Hatakaze” and “Shirane.” This was followed by tactical maneuvers conducted by the destroyer “Takanami,” “Oonami” and “Harusame,” the surfacing maneuvers of submarines “Isoshio” and “Wakashio” as well as the simultaneous launch of two helicopters mounted on the helicopter destroyer “Ise.” The maneuvers also included the high-speed navigation of the LCAC and the high-speed navigation of the patrol forces “Shirataka” and “Kumataka,” as well as the firing of the IR decoy by the two patrol forces.

After that, the review moved on to a display from the air forces. The blast of a anti-submarine bomb from a P-3C created tall sprays of water with roar. Next, an oncoming P-3C fired an IR flare. Finally, the amphibious search and rescue plane US-1A and US-2 came in at low speeds and landed on the water surface, and took off again amidst sprays of water. All the display exercises ended at around 1:30 p.m.

After the conclusion of the Fleet Review, the chief inspector Mr. Noda delivered his address on the flight deck of the destroyer “Kurama.” He made three demands of the forces: to further enhance their capabilities, to have courage in engaging in valiant actions, and to spread the “bonds of trust.” Finally, he read the “GOSEI”-five self- examinations for each day that tells Japanese naval traditions. Mr. Noda also said in his address, “I believe that every one of you will take these ‘GOSEI’ into heart and will fulfill your noble mission to protect our country. I further believe that you remain true to the hearts of the people of Japan and will continue to be the brave with tender mind.”

As part of the publicity events for the Fleet Review, the exhibition of vessels and the full dressing of ships were held at the ports of Yokosuka, Yokohama, and Kisarazu. The ships were also lit up at night, filling the ports with color and excitement.

P-3C firing IR flares
P-3C firing IR flares
View of the deck
View of the deck
Scene of the full dressing of ships
Scene of the full dressing of ships
View of the ships decorated with lights at night
View of the ships decorated with lights at night
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