31 May 2015
Speech at CCTF151 Change of Command Ceremony
Ambassador Saeed, Ambassador Roebuck, Ambassador Asako, ADM Miller, my fellow naval officers, Ladies and gentleman, good morning again, and thank you very much for giving me such a precious opportunity. It’s definitely my honor to stand before you today.
First and foremost, let me congratulate on an accomplishment done by CMDR Hasheem and his staff in this past three months. They successfully maintained suppression of piracy in CMF area of operations. Congratulations again, CMDR Hameed.
Today is a very historic day not only for me but for Japan as a whole, since it is the first time ever for us Japanese to take command of multinational force in post war period. On behalf of ADM Kawano, Chief of Joint Staff, ADM Takei, Chief of Maritime Staff, VADM Funada , Commander in Chief of Self Defense Fleet, and all hands of Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, here I extend our sincere appreciation to VADM Miller. Without your deliberate efforts with patience, taking command of CTF151 by JMSDF could not have happened. Thank you very much again, ADM Miller.
Throughout last 70 years, my country has contributed to peace and stability mostly in East Asia. In this last quarter century, however, JMSDF has enlarged its footprint out of East Asia on a step by step basis. The move was begun with mine sweeping operation in the Gulf in the aftermath of the first Iraq war. Coming into the 21st century, JMSDF conducted refueling operation for coalition naval ships for eight years. As for counter piracy, we have been deploying two destroyers and two P-3C MPRA in CMF AOR without any single day gap for this six years.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is taking his initiative on international security commitment called Proactive Contribution to Peace. We are at the crossroad. Taking a command of multinational force must be a laudable endeavor since it is definitely an unprecedented mission for us Japanese. In this regard, I could call ourselves as new kids on the block. Therefore, to achieve this unprecedented mission, Japan-led CTF151 has been given generous support by seven foreign navies. I have a privilege to serve with highly talented ten officers and personnel headed by Captain Rob Vitali of Royal Navy as my chief of staff. With the great support, I am well placed to accomplish my mission in coming three months. And many thanks in advance to ADM Miller and CMF staff for your support during my command.
My fellow naval officers, ladies and gentlemen, over the past 63 years, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force has developed into a world class navy. With being a capable navy, comes great responsibility. Through counter piracy mission tasked to CTF151, Japan will take more proactive role for global peace and stability.
I am really excited and looking forward to working with all of you attending here over the course of coming three months.
Thank you very much.