JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.75

ACTIVITIES

5th Anniversary Event for Operation Tomodachi
- Joint Performance at the U.S. Department of Defense -

5th Anniversary Event for Operation Tomodachi - Joint Performance at the U.S. Department of Defense -
5th Anniversary Event for Operation Tomodachi - Joint Performance at the U.S. Department of Defense -

On March 2nd, a commemorative event marking the fifth anniversary of Operation Tomodachi was held at the U.S. Department of Defense.

Operation Tomodachi is the name given to the disaster relief activities carried out by the U.S. Forces in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11th, 2011.

This event, which was attended by U.S. Forces officials who took part in the operation, government officials from both the U.S. and Japan, and SDF officials, featured joint performances by the GSDF Central Band and The President’s Own United States Marine Band and attendees’ speeches.

Songs that were performed during the event included the charity song “Hana wa saku (Flowers will bloom)” and “A Song for Japan” which honors those who lost their lives. In marking the fifth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami, the event once again expressed Japan’s appreciation for the support of the U.S. Forces and also reaffirmed the strong bond of friendship between the SDF and U.S. Forces through joint musical performances.

The Icebreaker Shirase Supported Transportation of Australian Expeditioners following Grounding of the Australian Icebreaker

The Icebreaker Shirase Supported Transportation of Australian Expeditioners following Grounding of the Australian Icebreaker
The Icebreaker Shirase Supported Transportation of Australian Expeditioners following Grounding of the Australian Icebreaker
The Icebreaker Shirase Supported Transportation of Australian Expeditioners following Grounding of the Australian Icebreaker

Since the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis grounded on February 24th off the Antarctica, the Government of Australia requested the Chairman of the Headquarters for the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology) to assist transportation of Australian expeditioners and others by the Japanese icebreaker Shirase, which were scheduled to navigate in that sea area.

After the review following the request, approx. 70 expeditioners and three helicopters, which were supposed to be transported by the icebreaker Aurora Australis, got aboard the Shirase. The Shirase transported them from Australia’s Mawson Research Station to the Casey Research Station.

The Icebreaker Shirase Supported Transportation of Australian Expeditioners following Grounding of the Australian Icebreaker
The Icebreaker Shirase Supported Transportation of Australian Expeditioners following Grounding of the Australian Icebreaker

The 20th Tokyo Defense Forum

The 20th Tokyo Defense Forum

The MOD hosted the 20th Tokyo Defense Forum (TDF) from March 16th to 18th.

The TDF is an international conference organized annually by the MOD since 1996 for defense authorities in the Asia-Pacific region. The Director General for International Affairs, MOD, chaired the forum where senior officers of defense ministries and international organizations (director-general level or general-class) took part. Participants discuss various topics including national defense policies in order to enhance mutual understanding and transparency.

The subjects of two sessions in the TDF this year were “Enhance Capabilities in Non-traditional Security Areas in the Region -Efforts and Challenges-” and “Defense Policies of Participating Countries and Regional Architecture.” In the first session, participants discussed the way of building more effective capability in order to improve capabilities in the non-traditional security field, such as responses to natural disasters and participation in the U.N. peacekeeping operations, in the region as a whole. In the latter component, they shared updated defense policies of participating countries in light of changes in the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and improved mutual understanding.

– Participating countries and organizations
23 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region (*), European Union (EU), the ASEAN Secretariat, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

* Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, the U.S., and Vietnam

The 20th Tokyo Defense Forum
The 20th Tokyo Defense Forum

Graduation Ceremony of the National Defense Medical College / National Defense Academy

Graduation Ceremony of the National Defense Medical College / National Defense Academy
Graduation Ceremony of the National Defense Medical College / National Defense Academy

On March 5th, a graduation ceremony of the National Defense Medical College (NDMC) was held for graduates of the Division of Medicine, NDMC. Completing their six years of student life, a total of 74 students including 20 female students were awarded degree certificates and diplomas. They recited doctor’s oath to show their resolve and determination as medical practitioner.

On March 21st, a graduation ceremony of the National Defense Academy (NDA) was held for students in both undergraduate and graduate course. The NDA is the only academic institution for higher education to educate ground, maritime, and air SDF cadets in Japan. 439 undergraduate students and 79 graduate students received degree certificates and diplomas. Following the address by the President of NDA, instructions by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as Defense Minister Nakatani, and congratulatory speech by an honored guest, graduates marked an end to the ceremony with the traditional hat toss.

Graduation Ceremony of the National Defense Medical College / National Defense Academy
Graduation Ceremony of the National Defense Medical College / National Defense Academy

National Defense Academy of Japan Held the 19th ICC

National Defense Academy of Japan Held the 19th ICC
National Defense Academy of Japan Held the 19th ICC

The 19th International Cadets’ Conference (ICC) was held from March 2nd to March 8th at the National Defense Academy of Japan. The ICC has been held every year since 1998 and cadets from around the world are invited to attend in order to deepen mutual understanding and establish relationships of trust with National Defense Academy students through presentations and discussions on main themes. This year a total of 25 cadets from 15 countries were invited. These countries included Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, the U.K. and the U.S.

This year’s main theme was “The Time We Become Leaders: Our Future for the Coming Decades,” which was same as last year. Based on this main theme, the cadets gave presentations and discussed about “The Borderless Battlefield: Together We Lead.” After an overall discussion in the plenary session, breakout sessions were held for discussions on the themes of “The Soldier and the State in the 21st Century,” “Preparing for Multilateral Operations,” “Cyberspace: The New Battlefield,” and “International Cooperation Against Terrorism.”

Cadets participating from each country took part in discussions in breakout sessions and conducted active debate in English with National Defense Academy students while understanding the differences and unique traits of each country’s school and military. Prior to these discussions, on March 3rd, Keynote Speaker GSDF Lieutenant Colonel Chizu Kurita, who also serves as Advisor to NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, delivered an address titled “From the Frontline of International Institution–Leadership and Gender in Multilateral Cooperation.” In this speech, she spoke about the qualities and preparedness required for officers in promoting multilateral cooperation based on her experience in peacekeeping operations and working in NATO.

On the evening of March 3rd, the cadets were invited to a traditional kyogen theatrical performance and on March 5th, a sporting event was held (tug of war*) between National Defense Academy students and the other cadets to foster their friendship. On March 6th, a cultural tour was held and the cadets visited Kamakura, Yokohama and Tokyo, promoting interaction between them.

* Tug of war: Four ropes are used simultaneously in an event, and a team pulling three ropes into their area first wins.

National Defense Academy of Japan Held the 19th ICC
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