FY2011 SDF Commemorative Event: Air Review

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Members of the 31st and 32nd Units
1. Prime Minister Noda, the review officer     2. Prime Minister Noda inspecting the units
3. Overseas resident military attaches watching the ceremony
T-4 Blue Impulse
T-4 Blue Impulse
F-15 fighter roaring down the taxiway in front of the review platform
F-15 fighter roaring down the taxiway in front of the review platform

Air Review 2011, an event commemorating the establishment of the SDF, took place at the ASDF Hyakuri Base in Ibaraki Prefecture on October 16. Around 800 SDF personnel and 46 aircrafts as well as approximately 6,000 visitors, including guests and invitees, such as Diet members, ambassadors to Japan, and members of the U.S. forces participated in the event.

The Air Review is held once every three years. As such, many invitees arrived early in the morning not only to watch the ceremony, but also to see exhibited items such as planes and equipments. The venue was filled with people even before the ceremony started at 11:20am. While missiles and the F-15 fighter drew much attention, the Medical Evacuation Unit sparked interest as an unusual item, among the many exhibited items, and people made lines to see the medical container, which is used for the transportation of critically injured and ill patients and can be loaded onto a C-130H transport aircraft. The container was used in practice in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, having showed its effectiveness. Among the invitees, a man who visited from Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, one of the areas devastated by the earthquake, noted that he was filled with a sense of appreciation after hearing the explanation that the rescue helicopter showed there was the actual model that was used in the wake of the earthquake.

At the ceremony venue, following the musical performance of the ASDF Central Band, the Air Review units of the GSDF, MSDF, and ASDF marched in, and then, the review officer Prime Minister Noda arrived together with the Defense Minister Ichikawa. After the formal salute, they moved to the review platform together with senior members of the Ministry of Defense and the SDF and offered a silent prayer to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake as well as the victims of the heavy rains and typhoons that occurred later in Japan.

Prime Minister Noda observed the review flights of five aircrafts ? the MSDF P-3C, ASDF U-125A, C-1, KC-767, and F-2, and toured the units. Then, without looking at his script, Prime Minister Noda delivered instructions. In his remarks, the Prime Minister lauded that the SDF are the “pride of Japan” and commended their rescue efforts in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake for “meeting expectations with ‘courage’ and ‘sincerity.’” In addition, while touching on the instability of the security environment surrounding Japan, the Prime Minister indicated that the development of a Dynamic Defense Force is an urgent challenge in line with the National Defense Program Guidelines that was approved by the Cabinet in December 2010. Furthermore, the Prime Minister discussed the further initiatives of the SDF’s international peace cooperation activities. Afterwards, a total of six aircrafts (F-15, F-4, and F-2) roared down the taxiway in front of the review platform. Following this, Prime Minister Noda pushed a button on the podium and two F-4 fighters made a demonstration of emergency takeoff. The finale featured the T-4 Blue Impulse that showed 20-minutes aerobatics. Invitees enjoyed them much giving a large round of applause from the stands.

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