JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.97

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Minister Onodera Holds a Meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia

Minister Onodera  Holds a Meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia

On January 18th, Minister Onodera held a meeting with the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia who was making a working visit to Japan for a Japan-Australia Summit Meeting. Prime Minister Turnbull visited the Ministry of Defense (MOD) to travel to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Narashino Training Area by air and the Ministers exchanged their views on various topics including the future Japan-Australian defense cooperation.

Minister Onodera  Holds a Meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia
Minister Onodera  Holds a Meeting with the Prime Minister of Australia

Japan-Spain Defense Ministerial Meeting

Japan-Spain Defense Ministerial Meeting

On January 15th, Minister Onodera and H.E. Ms. Maria Dolores De Cospedal Garcia, Minister of Defense, Kingdom of Spain held a bilateral meeting at the MOD.

1. Introduction

The Ministers welcomed the first Japan-Spain Defense Ministerial Meeting in approx. four years and shared the view to further promote the defense cooperation and exchanges between the two countries under the Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges.

2. Regional Situation

Minister Onodera highly praised that Spain took action for the first European country to expel North Korean ambassador in protest over the North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, and stated that now is the time for the entire international community to apply maximum pressure on North Korea in order to draw out a serious commitment and concrete actions for its denuclearization, and asked Spain’s cooperation.

In response, Minister de Cospedal indicated that Spain understands Japan’s concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and agreed that North Korea’s provocations are unacceptable.

In addition, both ministers opposed any unilateral actions to change the status quo in terms of the issues in the South China Sea and shared the view on the importance of finding a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

3. Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy

Minister Onodera stated that a free and open maritime order is an important pillar of the stability and prosperity of the international community and asked Spain to work with Japan through actions under the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy. In response, Minister de Cospedal expressed her intention to support the strategy.

4. Japan-Spain Defense Cooperation and Exchanges

Both ministers highly praised the steady progress in the Japan-Spain defense cooperation and exchanges mainly between military branches and declared the perspective to further deepen the defense cooperation and exchanges in various fields based on the joint press statement released on this occasion. Additionally, both ministers agreed to hold the first Vice-Ministerial meeting in Spain.

333rd Mission Flight of Japanese Air Force One and Crew Interviews

333rd Mission Flight of Japanese Air Force One and Crew Interviews

Japanese Air Force One accomplished its 333rd mission flight on November 21st. To mark this occasion, interviews of the members of the Special Airlift Group of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) were conducted.

Question for the Commanding Officer
Colonel Tomizaki

333rd Mission Flight of Japanese Air Force One and Crew Interviews

Q: What are the goals and ideals of the Special Airlift Group?

A: Our main mission is to transport VIPs such as the Emperor and the Imperial Families as well as the Prime Minister. Therefore, I strictly adhere to safe flight while pursuing punctuality to ensure that the schedules of VIPs go according as planned. Also, I strive to provide a pleasant service so that passengers can relax and enjoy the flight.

Question for the Pilot
Major Tokumichi

333rd Mission Flight of Japanese Air Force One and Crew Interviews

Q: What do you pay the most attention to when you transport VIPs?

A: Safety is always the top priority, not just when transporting VIPs. Next, I pay attention to punctuality and comfort. In terms of punctuality, the activities of VIPs are scheduled by minutes. As their schedules begin from the arrival of the aircraft, flight delay directly impacts their plans. We cannot arrive late or early for the designated time. On-time arrival is always required. I endeavor to fulfill this task in cooperation with crews to ensure punctuality in seconds. In terms of comfort, passengers including VIPs board Japanese Air Force One after completing difficult works in overseas in very tight schedules. The entire crews strive to provide a comfortable setting so that passengers can rest and relax on board.

Question for the Crew Member
Captain Hayashi

333rd Mission Flight of Japanese Air Force One and Crew Interviews

Q: What is your most memorable experience or challenge?

A: My most memorable experience is the transport of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress. Their Majesties told me that they had a very pleasant flight.

Question for the Aircraft Maintenance Crew
Technical Sergeant Takayanagi

333rd Mission Flight of Japanese Air Force One and Crew Interviews

Q: Is there anything that you keep in mind as an aircraft maintenance crew to fulfill the goals and ideals presented by the commander and the commanding officer?

A: As an aircraft maintenance crew of the Special Airlift Group, I prepare for safe flight operations by conducting thorough inspections and maintenance work. I focus on punctuality and ensure on-time departure through timely problem identification and appropriate decision-making in case of any aircraft failure. When on board, I work in a group of aircraft maintenance crews consists of commissioned and non-commissioned officers. During flights, we spend a long time together, so I prioritize teamwork first, especially by understanding each member’s physical condition and personality. I have been working for the Special Airlift Group for 11 years. I believe my role today is to not only to complete my work, but also to share my own experiences with junior members, such as the different type of works under special conditions in overseas.

333rd Mission Flight of Japanese Air Force One and Crew Interviews
333rd Mission Flight of Japanese Air Force One and Crew Interviews
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