SPECIAL FEATURE

Defense Attache

Q1 Tell us about Defense Attache.

A1.Defense Attache is a self-defense officer sent from the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that is stationed as a diplomatic official at Japanese embassies or other public missions around the world where they serve as experts in defense related matters. These self-defense officers wear their uniform and are addressed by rank during their work.

Q2 What are the specific duties of Defense Attache?

A2.Defense Attaches main duties are to collect military information, but they are also involved in activities in the fields of defense cooperation and exchange, and international peace cooperation.

Q3 What is the historical background of Japan’s Defense Attache?

A3.Although Japan refers to these personnel as Defense Attache, other countries typically call them military attaches. The military attache system has a long history dating back to the 19th century when countries began to recognize each other’s military attaches. Up until World War II, Japan, too, had dispatched military attaches to a number of major countries around the world.

After World War II, Japan set up its Defense Attache system in 1954 at the same time as the former Defense Agency and Self Defense Force.

Region Country Remarks Number
South Asia India   1
Indonesia Also covers the Mission of Japan to ASEAN 1
Singapore   1
Thailand   1
Pakistan   1
The Philippines   1
Vietnam Also covers Cambodia and Laos 1
Malaysia   1
Myanmar   1
East Asia South Korea   3
China Also covers Mongolia 3
Central Asia Kazakhstan Also covers Kyrgyz, Tajikistan and Georgia 1
Oceania Australia Also covers New Zealand 1
North America United States Also covers Canada 6
Europe Italy Also covers Albania and Malta 1
Ukraine Also covers Moldova 1
United Kingdom   1
Austria Also covers Kosovo, Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia and Montenegro 1
The Netherlands   1
Sweden   1
Germany   1
Norway   1
Finland   1
France   1
Belgium   1
Poland   1
Russia Also covers Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan 3
Middle East Afghanistan   1
Israel   1
Iran   1
Kuwait Also covers Qatar 1
Saudi Arabia   1
Syria Also covers Lebanon 1
Turkey   1
Africa Egypt   1
Sudan   1
Mission Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations (in New York) 1
Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament (in Geneva) 1

Q4 What type of self-defense officers are dispatched as Defense Attache?

A4.Colonels or lieutenant colonels are most often dispatched as Defense Attache because one of their roles involves military exchange. Japan’s defense attaches predominantly consist of colonels, but also include a few lieutenant colonels, with the exception of the United States where a rear admiral serves as Defense Attache.

Q5 Where are Defense Attaches dispatched to?

A5.As of January 1, 2012, there were a total of 49 Defense Attaches dispatched to 36 embassies and two government missions. The following chart shows which countries Japan’s Defense Attaches are dispatched to.

INTERVIEW WITH Defense Attache

We had a telephone interview with Captain. Kondo (Japan Maritime Defense Force), Defense Attache to Indonesia.


Message from Captain. KONDO


Hello, my name is Toshiaki KONDO, Defense Attache, at the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia since June 2011. My main task here is to promote bilateral cooperation and to collect information in the field of defense. Also, holding receptions periodically is one of my important missions to develop mutual understanding and friendships.

Regarding the defense exchanges between Japan and Indonesia, we have various talks and cooperation such as consultations between Defense Ministers, high-level mutual visits at the level of Chief of Staff, etc. Japan is also conducting capacity building-support to Indonesia, in such fields as charting. By making the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), it is expected that defense exchanges would further deepen between Japan and Indonesia.

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