JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.76

ACTIVITIES

Establishment of the Coast Observation Unit on Yonaguni Island

Establishment of the Coast Observation Unit on Yonaguni Island

On March 28th, Camp Yonaguni was newly established on Yonaguni Island and the Yonaguni Coast Observation Unit was newly deployed with other units.

With a view to organizing the structure required to carry out regular and persistent ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) activities which enable an immediate response in the case of various contingencies, GSDF Coast Observation Unit was newly deployed on Yonaguni Island.

Including the establishment of the Coast Observation Unit, MOD continues to make efforts to secure effective deterrence and response capabilities in various situations by broadly carrying out regular and persistent ISR activities in the adjacent areas of Japan.

Establishment of the Coast Observation Unit on Yonaguni Island
Establishment of the Coast Observation Unit on Yonaguni Island

The Icebreaker Shirase’s Return

The Icebreaker Shirase’s Return

On April 14th, the icebreaker Shirase has concluded its mission and returned to Harumi pier, Tokyo port. Shirase is the only icebreaker of Japan belonging to MSDF and is primarily used for supporting the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition.

Shirase departed Japan on November 16th last year as part of the 57th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition, in which the crews supported observations and base camp operations by executing missions of transporting supplies and personnel.

At the end of February 2016, Shirase provided support for transporting the members of Australian Antarctic research expedition at the request of the Australian Government (see Japan Defense Focus No. 75).

Japan Defense Focus No. 70 features an interview with Captain Hisanobu Oga, Commanding officer of Shirase, recorded before the ship’s departure last year. Please check it out.

The Icebreaker Shirase’s Return
The Icebreaker Shirase’s Return

GSDF Kodaira School

GSDF Kodaira School

GSDF Kodaira School is located in Kodaira City, Tokyo, and is providing several training for intelligence service, military police and accounting. It also has courses for practical matters, especially foreign language capability and personnel matters. The mission of the school is to develop human resources who can contribute to a broad variety of areas. For this mission, the school provides education not only to GSDF personnel, but also to MSDF personnel, ASDF personnel, administrative officials, and technical and engineering officials. The education provided by GSDF Kodaira School is essential to fulfill missions of MOD and SDF, including the defense of Japan, international peace cooperation activities, and disaster relief.

Under the policy of “developing flexible and strong “language warriors”,” the Language Education Department of GSDF Kodaira School instructs personnel of various ranks, from non-commissioned officers to commissioned officers on a daily basis. Students learn English specified for their duties for various periods ranging from several weeks to half a year, depending on their courses.

Lieutenant Colonel Kitano, head of the English Instructors’ Office, notes, “Our students enroll with motivation and have strong desire to learn. In our duty, such as joint training, there can be situations in which SDF service members, not general citizens, must work as interpreters. I expect that students will be able to fulfill such duties after the completion of their courses.”

GSDF Kodaira School

Japan-U.S.-Canada Joint Training

Japan-U.S.-Canada Joint Training
Japan-U.S.-Canada Joint Training

The MSDF conducted the joint training with the U.S. Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force from March 9th to 11th.

The training aimed at enhancing the MSDF’s tactics and combat skills as well as strengthening cooperative relationships with the U.S. Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The training was took place in waters off Sanriku. From the MSDF, one P-3C from Fleet Air Wing 2 (Hachinohe) and one P-1 from Fleet Air Wing 4 (Atsugi) participated. For this training, the U.S. Navy sent one P-8A from the Patrol Squadron SIXTEEN, while the Royal Canadian Air Force sent one CP-140 from the 19 Wing Comox.

Measures against Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden through the Fourth Quarter of FY2015

Measures against Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden through the Fourth Quarter of FY2015
Measures against Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden through the Fourth Quarter of FY2015

Following data shows the records of the measures against piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden from January through March, 2016.

Aerial Activities of P-3C Patrol Aircraft off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden

Record of Mission (January through March, 2016)

1. Number of flights: 55 flights (Accumulated Total (AT): 1,530 flights)
2. Flight hours: Approx. 420 hours (AT: Approx. 11,780 hours)
3. Number of visually confirmed commercial ships: Approx. 4,500 ships (AT: Approx. 127,000 ships)
4. Number of times of information sharing to Japanese destroyers, foreign warships, and/or commercial ships: Approx. 210 times (AT: Approx. 11,790 times)

Escort Operations Performed by MSDF Units in the Same Area

Record of Mission (January through March, 2016)

1. Number of escort operations: 20 times (The 657th - 676th escort operation under Japan’s Anti-Piracy Measures Law)
2. Number of escorted vessels: 33 vessels (AT 3,673 of escorted vessels since the start of operations under Japan’s Anti-Piracy Measures Law)
[Breakdown]
Japanese-registered ships: 0 (AT: 17 )
Foreign ships operated by Japanese shipping companies: 3 (AT: 661)
Foreign ships other than above: 30 (AT: 2,995)
*The above record does not include the 1st - 41st escort operation performed as Maritime Security Activities.

Zone Defense Performed in the Same Area

Record of Mission (January through March, 2016)

1. Number of days: 77 (AT: 665days)
2. Number of commercial vessels confirmed: Approx. 350 (AT: 13,040 vessels)

Status of Scrambles in FY2015

Status of Scrambles in FY2015

In total, the ASDF scrambled 873 times in FY2015, which marked a decrease of 70 times compared to the previous year. The breakdown of scrambles by countries and regions was about 65% against Chinese aircraft, about 33% against Russian aircraft, and about 2% against other aircraft although the countries and regions include supposition.

Characteristics of Responses in FY2015

The ASDF scrambled 571 times against Chinese aircraft in FY2015, an increase of 107 times compared to the previous year. It is the highest number since 2001, in which the MOD began publicizing the number of scrambles by countries and regions. In FY2015, the MOD publicized 14 cases as a peculiar flight, including a case, which aircraft passed through the Tsushima Strait for the first time and flew over the Sea of Japan.

The ASDF scrambled 288 times against Russian aircraft in FY2015, a decrease of 185 times compared to the previous year. In FY2015, the MOD publicized 10 cases as airspace violation and a peculiar flight.

Scrambles against Chinese fighter aircraft and Russian intelligence gathering aircraft were outstanding in frequency compared to other types of aircraft of each country, although this includes estimation.

The period of this data is from April 1st, 2015, to March 31st, 2016.

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