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 Strategic Study Group

 Introduction of a paper "JMSDF in the New Maritime Era"

SSG Column No. 030
22 June 2012

Rear Admiral Toshihiro Yamamoto 
Chairman of Strategic Study Group


The third issue of JMSDF Staff College Review featured, which was issued in May 2012, featured "Shifting Security Environment. "As part of activities of the Strategic Study Group (SSG), we engage in contemplating what maritime defense strategy Japan should adopt under such shifting security environment. To think about our future strategy, how should we understand the present maritime defense strategy? I would like to introduce a paper written about four years ago, which I think will help us understand it. The title of the paper is "JMSDF in the New Maritime Era." It was written in November 2008 by Vice Admiral Tomohisa Takei, Commandant, Yokosuka District when he was Rear Admiral and Director General of Operations and Plans Department, Maritime Staff Office. The paper appeared in a magazine named Hatou, a periodical publication which is published by the Association for Military Art for its members. In this column I will summarize the paper.

At first, the paper sets out the following three targets of the JMSDF for achieving the goal of ensuring Japan’s security after analyzing international situations over the seas.
1) To defend Japan and its territorial waters
2) To guarantee freedom of the seas
3) To establish a more stable international security environment

The paper also proposes a dual faceted approach to the JMSDF’s strategies as you can see in the chart below. One is "Commitment Strategy," which can be defined as the peacetime agenda and policy, and the other is "Contingency Response Strategy" which is the agenda and policy for the time when deterrence does not work and Japan is exposed to the threat.


JMSDF's Strategies

Next, the paper claims that the JMSDF needs to put greater importance on 1) dealing with diverse missions, 2) conducting organic and effective operations with the U.S. military and 3) facilitating joint operations of the Self-Defense Forces, and then to further strengthen the following three capabilities and education of its personnel to improve these capabilities.
a) C4ISR Capability
b) Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Capability
c) At Sea Logistics Support Capability

Finally, the paper says to Hatou readers, "Consider the future of JMSDF using this paper as a trigger for further discussion."

It has been nearly four years since the paper was published. When we discuss Japan’s future maritime security, I think it is meaningful for us to read the paper again while thinking about what the present security environment is like compared to that in those days.

The paper is carried in the Association for Military Art’s magazine Hatou. But it is available for the association members only, so you can’t buy it in a bookstore. Taking this opportunity, we will upload the paper below in this page with the approval of the paper’s author and the Association for Military Art.

"JMSDF in the New Maritime Era" published in Hatou Vol. 34 No. 4


The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s alone and part of academic research conducted by the JMSDF Staff College. They do not represent the views of the Ministry of the Defense, Japan or the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.