Message from Chief of Staff
The mishap of JMSDF helicopter crash occurred at 22:48 (JST) on August 26th, 2017 during a night landing and takeoff drill at the Sea of Japan, approximately 90 km west southwest of Cape Tappi, Aomori prefecture. I would like to apologize to all of you including all the parties concerned for any trouble and concern it has caused. After the helicopter was raised from the seabed on October 26th, the memorial service was conducted on November 11th, 2017 with the presence of families of the fallen crew members and Mr. Fukuda, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense at JMSDF 25 Squadron where it is the home base for the helicopter.
I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for giving your continued support and understanding to the JMSDF. I hope all of you visiting the website are taking good care of yourselves in this cold weather.
There is some update on my recent visits to Republic of Djibouti, Italian Republic, and Republic of Malta in October, Kingdom of Thailand and Republic of the Philippines in November.
Republic of Djibouti（Oct. 15th - 16th）
I visited the 28th Deployment Surface Force Counter Piracy Enforcement JS AMAGIRI, Deployment Air Force Counter Piracy Enforcement, and the 8th Deployment Support-Group for Counter Piracy Enforcement engaged in counter piracy mission, giving the service members encouragement for their continued hard work. As it was my first visit to the country, I was able to grasp the conditions of how the deployment forces work there, and was proud to see their high level operational capabilities under the challenging environment, far away from Japan.
Italian Republic（Oct. 17th – 21st）
I attended the 11th Regional Seapower Symposium (RSS) hosted by the Italian Navy as Chief of Staff, JMSDF for the first time.
47 navies and 29 organizations participated in the symposium including 37 heads of navies. I was honored to speak at the panel session where I emphasized the importance of navies working together through capacity building assistance, sending a message of the JMSDF’s efforts to ensure maritime security. The symposium also provided an opportunity to deepen my recognition on current maritime security situations for the participating navies, international organizations, and affiliated companies, the challenges, and the efforts to address the challenges.
Additionally, G7 Navy Chiefs informal meeting conducted in the RSS allowed the leaders to discuss what we can work together to ensure maritime order based on the rule of law, sharing our ideas.
Republic of Malta（Oct. 21st）
I visited the Japanese War Memorial at the Naval Cemetery where Japanese fallen sailors from the Second Special Squadron, Imperial Japanese Navy detached to the Mediterranean during the WWI in 1917 were buried. It was the first visit as Chief of Staff, JMSDF to commemorate the fallen sailors. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Squadron’s detachment that Prime Minster Abe also visited the memorial in May.
With kind consideration of Mr. Mifsud, Honorary Consul General of Japan in Malta and people of Malta, the epitaph was finely maintained. The visit made me realize how thankful I am as Japanese national for what people of Malta have done for our predecessors as well as how much contribution our predecessors have made to international society.
Kingdom of Thailand（Nov. 19th – 21st）
I and JS ONAMI participated in the 50th anniversary of ASEAN International Fleet Review hosted by Royal Thai Navy. The honorable review was successfully carried out with participation of 49 ships from 22 countries. I was impressed by Royal Thai Navy’s well-organized performance and kind hospitality.
Participation of the Fleet Review allowed us to demonstrate the JMSDF’s presence and to promote understanding of the participating countries toward the JMSDF. I also had an opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Prayut, Minister of Defense Prawit, and the delegates of navies to share recognition of regional situations, and to carry out useful exchange of views to strengthen naval relationship.
Republic of the Philippines（Nov. 21st – 24th）
I visited Republic of the Philippines that I was officially invited by Philippine Navy. I visited the naval base at Sangley Point where I was given a briefing on operational status of TC-90 aircraft that Japan has leased to the Philippines as defense equipment transfer for the first time. I was thrilled to see the aircraft which was painted in the color Philippine Navy has selected, as if it looked like a brand new aircraft. The visit to the Headquarters Naval Forces West located on Palawan Island allowed me to develop my understanding of the front line of operations in the South China Sea Philippine Navy has engaged in. I had a very productive visit to the Philippines, which helped strengthen defense exchanges between Japan and the Philippines.
Security challenges and unstable factors in the Asia Pacific region are growing into serious matters. We are committed to ensuring defense of Japan, continuing to work together with our partner navies, and promoting exchange to improve our global security environment. We would like to kindly ask for your continued understanding and support to the JMSDF.