Warmest New Year Greetings! On behalf of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), I would like to express my deep appreciation for your tremendous support extended to the JMSDF in the past year and please allow me to express the greetings of the season.
In the meantime, various challenges and destabilizing factors are becoming more tangible and serious in the security environment surrounding Japan. Especially, North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development as well as its repeated provocative actions is becoming grave and imminent threats to us. Additionally, we need to work together with international community to make our continued efforts including counter piracy operations off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden to ensure maritime security.
Given the challenging circumstances, we are committed to our continued efforts to strengthen three pillars of foundation which are human resources, operations, and equipment and technology in order to build a solid force structure “Combat ready in a true sense” that the JMSDF has promoted.
In strengthening the foundation of human resources, we continue to promote improving our recruitment system, and increasing the number of female service members as well as empowering female personnel to various roles amid the decline in the birthrate and increasing population with higher academic background in order to maintain combat ready naval forces in the future.
Concerning enhancement of the foundation of operations, based on strengthening of joint operation as well as improvement in interoperability with the U.S. Navy, we will conduct highly effective tactical development, while maintaining the structure that is capable of seamlessly responding to various situations.
We are also committed to enhancing cooperation with Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) to realize procurement reform, and to maintain and strengthen defense production and technological bases toward strengthening the foundation of equipment and technology.
The JMSDF has cherished the foundation in strength of tradition since the Imperial Japanese Navy. The famous quote, “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” indicates that we are now required to properly respond to the rapid change of security environment, and to continue to let new fire go while keeping existing fire that needs to be preserved. We continue to try our best this year to pull together, and to bravely address any challenges we face to meet the public’s expectations. I would like to kindly ask your continued understanding and support toward the JMSDF.
Please allow me to conclude my New Year greetings wishing you a year full of happiness and prosperity.