Vehicle from U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti participating in the Troop Review for the first time
JDF Ministry of Defense Japan Defense Focus The Latest News on the Ministry of Defense and Self-Defense Forces
No.20 JANUARY 2011

Cover Photograph:
Vehicle from U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti participating in the Troop Review for the first time

A New Year’s Address from Minister of Defense Toshimi Kitazawa

Toshimi Kitazawa Minister of Defense
Toshimi Kitazawa Minister of Defense

Happy New Year! At the beginning of 2011, I would like to deliver an address, paying homage to our members of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) who are on duty day and night all over Japan, as well as those who are engaged in international cooperation activities, including anti-piracy operations and PKO activities, and those working at each of Japan’s missions abroad.

The year of 2010 was marked by reviews of both the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and Mid-Term Defense Program (MTDP), which was the first effort to have been carried out after the change of government. In 2010, it was the year when the SDF was able to fully demonstrate its capability in both domestic and overseas activities, such as disaster relief operations for foot-and-mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture, as well as the dispatch of international disaster relief teams to Haiti and Pakistan, and the new PKO commitments to Haiti and Timor-Leste.

It was a milestone year for the Japan–U.S. Alliance as well, being the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan–U.S. Security Treaty. I had discussions with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on crucial occasions in such a significant year. For the SDF as well, there has been close cooperation between Japan and the U.S. on various levels, ranging from the large-scale and elaborated Japan–U.S. Joint Exercise to cooperation at occasions such as the SDF Marching Festival.

And in the meantime, last year we saw the occurrence of many events which keenly reminded of us of the ever-unstable security situation in the area surrounding Japan. These include incidents such as the sinking of a Republic of Korea (ROK) naval patrol vessel by North Korea, as well as North Korea’s shelling of the ROK’s island of Yeonpyeong. At the beginning of my second year as Defense Minister, I pledge to do my utmost for the Ministry and the MOD/SDF’s mission to defend our citizens’ lives and properties.

In this context, I would like to point out several issues which we need to tackle this year.

First, the NDPG formulated last year has clarified a policy of the Dynamic Defense Force, which has evolved from the Basic Defense Force Concept. The MOD will develop, maintain, and operate defense capabilities in an efficient and effective manner in line with the new MTDP.

To this end, we will work on deployment of new units in areas including southwestern Japan, and strengthen capabilities of information gathering, warning and surveillance, rapid deployment and response. In addition, we will focus our efforts on such issues as human resources, defense production capability and technological base in order to improve the foundation for the full exercise of defense capabilities.

The Japan–U.S. Alliance greatly contributes to not only the defense of Japan, but also peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. I believe that it is necessary to promote cooperation at various levels continuously this year. And we will continue to make every effort to settle the issue of relocation of Futenma Air Station.

It is equally essential to enhance cooperation not only with the U.S., but also with our neighbors in order to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. We will continue our exchanges with the Republic of Korea, Australia, ASEAN nations, and India, with whom we share a basic sense of values and many security interests.

Secondly, regarding overseas activities, the SDF is currently participating in five PKO activities and anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden in their second year. The overseas activities by the SDF have been highly appreciated by the international communities. We will continue to work to be better positioned to rapidly response to requests from international communities. While the United Nations is currently discussing the modality of PKO activities, I hope to that the Japanese government will consider how Japan should contribute to PKO activities in the future.

When I took up the position of Defense Minister, I introduced a poem by Wakayama Bokusui: “Another day comes, I sound the bell within my heart, and, sounding the bell, I go my way in search of an ideal.” Proceeding forward one step at a time, while looking back on myself – such sincere efforts are essential to accomplish the duty of defense of Japan. I would like to stress again that it is most important to improve our ability or skill step by step through day-to-day training and efforts of each of the personnel of the SDF, although the activities are not so conspicuous for ordinary people. At the beginning of the new year, going back to the original intention, and bearing the resolution to develop ourselves in mind, I will ask each of you to make every possible effort to fulfill your responsibility this year.

I would like to close my address by wishing the best of luck and sound health to all of you and your family, and hoping that this year will be a year of great progress for the Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces.

Toshimi Kitazawa
Minister of Defense

Courtesy Call on Prime Minister Dung, Vietnam

Defense Minister Kitazawa received a Guard of Honor Ceremony
Defense Minister Kitazawa received a Guard of Honor Ceremony

On October 11, Defense Minister Kitazawa who visited Vietnam paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Dung, Vietnam. Defense Minister Kitazawa highly appreciated the efforts of Vietnam and ASEAN countries, to hold the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus). The Defense Minister and the Prime Minister agreed to further enhance the Japan–Vietnam relations based on the Strategic Partnership.

Reception on board JMSDF Hashidate commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Japan–U.S. Security Treaty

A reception on board JMSDF Hashidate hosted by Defense Minister Kitazawa
A reception on board JMSDF Hashidate hosted by Defense Minister Kitazawa

On November 2, in order to enhance a closer cooperative relationship between Japan and the U.S., Defense Minister Kitazawa hosted a reception on board JMSDF Hashidate in Tokyo Bay to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the Japan–U.S. Security Treaty. The attendees include: the Defense Minister, the Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense, senior officials from the MOD and SDF, relevant government personnel from the two countries, including the U.S. Ambassador to Japan and the Commander, U.S. Forces Japan, other officers of USFJ and experts.