Message from Chief of Staff
At the official invitation of Turkish Naval Forces, I paid a four-day visit on the Republic of Turkey on June 7th. It was the first visit in five years since 2011, the last time the former Chief of Staff, JMSDF visited the country.
Official events were planned during the visitation such as office calls on Minister of National Defense and Turkish General Staff, exchanges of ideas between Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces and other Turkish Naval senior officials, and also special guard of honor rendered by the Turkish Naval guard unit. Through these events, I believe that JMSDF and the Turkish Naval Forces were able to enhance mutual understanding and fortify our relations of trust.
Most importantly among these functions, I had a fruitful talk with Admiral Bostanoğlu. We widely exchanged our ideas on the matter such as situations of the Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East region and further development of two navies’ relations, which affirms our shared view on the future direction of defense cooperation and exchange.
Also meetings with senior officials and visits on military installations are of great help to deepen my understanding on the Turkish navy’s unfailing endeavor to defend the nation, which seems quite similar to our efforts and usual works to cope with challenges to defend our nation.
The naval exchanges between Japan and Turkey started in November 1878, when Seiki, a Japanese Imperial Naval ship made a port call at Istanbul. Ertuğrul, a Turkish Naval ship came to Japan in 1890, and on its way back home in September of that year, it was unfortunately struck by a typhoon and wrecked off the coast of Kashiyazaki. The villagers of Oshima, which Kashiwazaki belongs to, they devoted themselves to rescue the victims amid continuing harsh storm immediately after finding the shipwreck.
Later Japanese government decided to send the survivors back to their home as soon as possible. To that end, the Imperial Naval ships Hiei and Kongo were selected among the limited number of naval ships at that time and urgently dispatched to Istanbul.
Last year marked the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the Ertuğrul incident and several commemorative events were held in both countries, and The Japan-Turkey Society manufactured a model of the Imperial Naval Ship, Hiei and donated it to Istanbul Maritime Museum.
On this opportunity of my visit to Turkey, The Japan-Turkey Society and some JMSDF voluntary members cooperated and made a model of Kongo, the other one of two Imperial Naval ships and presented it to the Turkish Naval Forces for a token of both nation’s friendly relationships. If you have an opportunity to visit Turkey, it is worth seeing the two models of Imperial Naval ships displayed in Istanbul Maritime Museum, which became the starting point of longstanding friendships of Japan and Turkey.
Japanese villagers had devoted themselves to help Turkish people in the Ertuğrul incident, likewise in 1985 Turkish airline miraculously rescued two hundred Japanese people left behind in Tehran in the midst of Iran-Iraq war, while the time limit for the incriminate attack on Iranian airspace was approaching.
Last year, both Japanese and Turkish naval officers consecutively served as Commander of CTF 151 (Combined Maritime Forces) and two nations’relations are surely expanding not only in defense exchange but also in practical operation of maintaining maritime security while exchanging staff members each other.
“Open, stable sea” is paramount for Japan as a maritime nation. JMSDF will contribute to the freedom of sea, enhancing exchanges and cooperation between other navies so as to assist building of global security environment.
I am grateful for your understanding and support to JMSDF and ask for your continuous assistance to us.