ACTIVITIES

Joint Field Training Exercise with the U.S. Marine Corps in the United States (Iron Fist)

The GSDF conducted a joint exercise with the U.S. Marine Corps from January 15 to February 22 at Marine Corps Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California.

GSDF troops were dispatched to the U.S. to take advantage of their training facilities which are effective in carrying out field training, such as tactics and combat necessary for military operations on offshore islands, which requires mutual cooperation with U.S. Forces. Through this training, efforts were made to enhance GSDF defense capability with respect to offshore islands defense.

Approximately, 280 troops from the GSDF Western Army and 500 troops from the 13th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) participated in this exercise.

Training at Marine Corps Camp Pendleton included intrusion from water bay (swimmer reconnaissance, steering techniques, and marine navigation), LCAC/LCU training (loading and landing of small, medium-sized and large vehicles), helicasting training (troop and boat drops as well as emergency exit in case of emergency landing at a specialized facility), and combat firing (rifle shooting as well as mortar firing at the platoon level).

Training at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center consisted of combat firing (rifle shooting in bilateral operations at platoon, company and battalion level as well as mortar firing) and joint fire direction training (direction of live missile involving a helicopter at a firing range).

Combat firing practice
Combat firing practice
Heliborne training
Heliborne training

Conclusion of International Peacekeeping Operations in Haiti

On March 15, a flag handover ceremony was held at the Ministry of Defense to commemorate the return of the Haiti International Relief Unit dispatched as part of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

In response to the request of the United Nations, Japan has dispatched a total of approximately 2,200 SDF personnel, including staff officers and engineer units, since February 2010 for the MINUSTAH. These personnel were involved in around 220 projects for the recovery, reconstruction, and stabilization of Haiti, such as the removal of rubble, ground leveling, road repairs, construction of small facilities.

These activities involved cooperations with troops dispatched from other countries when necessary, while attaching importance to the collaboration with NGOs and ODA projects.

Following the fourth dispatch of personnel, the SDF provided technical training to local Haitians for handling and maintaining engineer equipment, so that a total of 41 trainees obtained national certifications.

Japan’s personnel played a key role in the recovery effort in Haiti and helped to build a foundation for the long-term reconstruction of the country. In addition, the SDF personnel are highly regarded by the United Nations officials and the international community for their high level of discipline.

Flag handover ceremony at MOD
Flag handover ceremony at MOD
Officer handing over the flag to the Minister of Defense Onodera
Officer handing over the flag to the
Minister of Defense Onodera

Capacity Building for Vietnam

The Ministry of Defense invited six officials to Japan from March 4 to 9, who are engaged in the preparation for the development to PKO from Ministry of National Defense of Vietnam, including Major General Vu Quoc Binh, Director of the Military Medical Department Ministry of National Defense. In order to support Vietnamese Military to build capacity in the area of PKO, training program such as briefing on SDF’s efforts in PKO and visit to the related units were conducted. Training sessions were held with the GSDF Central Readiness Force Headquarters, Central Readiness Force Regiment, and the International Peace Cooperation Activities Training Unit, while discussions were also organized at the Ministry of Defense.

To further stabilize the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and improve global security, the Ministry of Defense utilizes the knowledge and experience of the SDF to actively promote capacity building for militaries and related organizations in the region. This includes human resource development that contributes to capacity building in non-traditional security issues such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Lecture scene by GSDF
Lecture scene by GSDF
Lecture scene by GSDF
Lecture scene by GSDF

Minister of Defense Visits JSDF Physical Training School

On March 14, the Minister of Defense Onodera visited the SDF Physical Training School located at the GSDF Camp Asaka in order to observe the school’s physical training regimen.

During his visit, Mr. Onodera also took his time to give accolades to athletes from the SDF Physical Training School that took part in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.

After his visit, the Mr. Onodera remarked that he would make efforts to ensure that wrestling would not be eliminated from the items in 2020 Summer Olympic Games, since it has become one of Japan’s specialties and the SDF Physical Training School produced three medalists in the last games. He also stated that he would try his best to ensure that Tokyo to be selected as the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Minister of Defense Onodera holding a gold medal, which was prized for Captain Hitomi Obara
Minister of Defense Onodera holding a gold medal,
which was prized for Captain Hitomi Obara
Minister of Defense Onodera lifting a gold medalist, Second Lieutenant Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu
Minister of Defense Onodera lifting a gold medalist,
Second Lieutenant Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu
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