Ministerial Succession Ceremony

The new Minister of Defense Onodera and senior ministry officials
The new Minister of Defense Onodera and senior ministry officials

With the coming in of the second Abe administration, Itsunori Onodera, Member of the House of Representatives, was appointed as the 12th Minister of Defense on December 26, 2012.

On the appointment of Mr. Onodera as the new Minister of Defense, Prime Minister Abe instructed him to:

  • Review the National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program, and take steps to strengthen the SDF’s structure in order to resolutely defend the lives and the property of the people, as well as the territory, territorial waters, and airspace of Japan.
  • Consider review of the Guidelines for Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation in order to enhance deterrence capability and strengthen the role of the SDF with close connection to the new U.S. defense strategy;
  • Take steps to maintain deterrence capability and to reduce the burden on Okinawa and other places where U.S. bases are stationed through the realignment of the U.S. Forces in Japan, including the relocation of the Futenma air base;
  • Cooperate with the Minister in charge of enhancement of National Security toward the establishment of a Council on National Security, which would serve as the central command of diplomatic and security policies.

On December 27, during his address at the inauguration ceremony at the auditorium of the Ministry of Defense, Ichigaya, Mr. Onodera touched on the security environment surrounding Japan, and spoke about putting effort into further strengthening our defense posture, especially in the Southwest region, improving our ability to respond to cyber attacks, and further enhancing our crisis management capacity. He also talked about working closely with the United States on ensuring the security of Japan, and at the same time, taking initiatives to secure the stability of the region as well as continuing SDF’s international cooperation activities, which have been highly appraised by international community as well as Japanese people. He also stated his intention to stabilize the strategic environment surrounding Japan by engaging in defense cooperation and exchange with key partner nations in the region surrounding Japan and the world, and building trust in relation with our neighboring countries.

Finally, Mr. Onodera sincerely hoped for each individual SDF member to possess strong ethical values, and to continue putting their utmost best into all missions, in order to fulfill the trust and expectations of Japanese people for the Ministry of Defense and the SDF.

On the same day, a farewell ceremony was held for former Defense Minister Morimoto. He touched on the cases and issues that arose during his term as the Defense Minister, and said, “I was succeeded by a very capable Minister. There is no cause for any worries. I ask with my sincere hope that you give the new Minister even greater support and will be even more devoted to the effort on ensuring the stability of the country and the safety of our people.”

Ministerial succession ceremony held for Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense and Parliamentary Vice-Ministers of Defense

Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Akinori Eto
Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Akinori Eto

The second Abe administration was launched on December 26, 2012.

On December 27, Prime Minister Abe appointed member of the House of Representatives, Akinori Eto, as the Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense. Member of the House of Representatives, Akira Sato, and member of the House of Councillors, Masahisa Sato, were appointed as Parliamentary Vice-Ministers of Defense.

A farewell ceremony was held for the outgoing ministers on December 27–former Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Nagashima, as well as former Parliamentary Vice-Ministers of Defense Miyajima and Oono. On December 28, an appointment ceremony was held for Mr. Eto, Mr. Akira Sato and Mr. Masahisa Sato.

Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Akira Sato
Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Akira Sato
Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Masahisa Sato
Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Masahisa Sato

Chief of Staff, GSDF hosted Japan–U.S. Senior Level Seminar

From left, Lieutenant General Wiercinski, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Pacific, General Kimizuka, GSDF Chief of Staff, and Lieutenant General Robling, Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific
From left, Lieutenant General Wiercinski, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Pacific, General Kimizuka, GSDF Chief of Staff, and Lieutenant General Robling, Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific

The 23rd Senior Level Seminar (SLS) was held on December 14 and 15 at the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo. This seminar was hosted by the Chief of Staff, GSDF to discuss together with the top brass of U.S. Land Forces in the Pacific on the theme of “ the roles of the GSDF, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps following the U.S. announcement of ‘the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.’”

Approximately 60 members participated in the discussion, including General Kimizuka, GSDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Wiercinski, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Pacific, and Lieutenant General Robling, Commanding General of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

The U.S. Army delegates explained their future plan that they will be transformed from counter insurgency-type force into regionally aligned-type force.

The U.S. Marine Corps delegates explained their concept of the deployment of approximately 22,000-strength force in the future.

In addition, Japan and U.S. sides shared the recognition of the importance of strengthening Japan–U.S.–Republic of Korea and Japan–U.S.–Australia cooperation to improve the stability of Asia-Pacific region.

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