Regarding Japanese Response to North Korea’s missile

For the launch of North Korea’s missile purported to be a “satellite,” then Defense Minster Morimoto issued on December 7 “Order concerning the implementation of destruction measures against ballistic missiles” in order to make preparation should the missile fall. In accordance with the order, Aegis destroyers equipped with SM-3 missiles were deployed to the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea, and PAC-3 units were deployed to Okinawa Prefecture, which lies within the expected flight path of the incoming missile, and the Tokyo metropolitan area. Preparations were also made on December 8 to ensure readiness in implementing the necessary measures and responding promptly to any damage or injuries that might arise as a result of the missile failing mid-flight.

On December 10, the first day of the missile launch based on a formal notice issued by North Korea, the Defense Minister and relevant senior members of the Ministry of Defense gathered to consolidate and share information. Also, the Minister instructed the relevant personnel to stay vigilant and maintain a posture of readiness around the clock.

At 9:49 a.m. on December 12, North Korea launched the missile purported to be a “satellite.” The missile passed over the Okinawa region at 10:01 a.m. It disintegrated in a series of the event from launch to fall. At 9:58 a.m., one part was estimated to have fallen into the Yellow Sea (within the expected crash zone of the missile), approximately 200km west of the Korean Peninsula. A second was estimated to have fallen at 9:59 a.m. into the East China Sea (within the expected crash zone of the missile), approximately 300km southwest of the Korean Peninsula. A third was estimated to have fallen at 10:05 a.m. into waters approximately 300km east of Philippines (within the expected crash zone of the missile). There was no information on missiles falling into Japanese territory, nor any reports of damage or injury to the public. On the same day, Mr. Morimoto issued an order concerning the termination of the measures ordered in response to this incident.

Commencement of Capacity Building Project in East Timor

With regard to capacity building projects, Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines clearly stipulate Japan’s support for capacity building initiatives for Asia-Pacific nations in the field of non-traditional security, with the aim of stabilizing the region.

Based on this, the Ministry of Defense has made efforts to promote capacity and human resource development in areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, for the military or the relevant organizations of the related nations through utilizing the SDF’s knowledge and experience.

In last fiscal year 2011, the Ministry of Defense conducted researches and studies aimed at identifying the capacity building needs of countries in Southeast Asia.

This fiscal year, based on the results of these researches and studies, the Ministry will implement a human resource development project in East Timor, in the areas of equipment maintenance and technical skill development (such as training and education for auto mechanics), in order to contribute to capacity development in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. This was carried out through dispatching personnel, including SDF officers, for a period of time.

The project is conducted from December 4, 2012, to March 20, 2013. Two GSDF officers, one internal bureau official, and four members of civilian organizations with the requisite knowhow are dispatched to the Timor Leste Defense Force’s military base in Metinaro and headquarters in Dili.

Training vessel “Kashima” entering port
Two GSDF officers and internal bureau official to be dispatched on the mission
Two GSDF officers and internal bureau official to be dispatched
on the mission

Icebreaker “Shirase” Leaves Port

The MSDF will carry out the 54th Japan Antarctic Research Expedition on board the icebreaker “Shirase” from November 11, 2012, to April 10, 2013.

On November 11, a ceremony was held at Harumi Pier to commemorate the departure of the icebreaker “Shirase.” The vessel was given a grand send-off by approximately 1,000 onlookers, including Vice Chief of Joint Staff, MSDF Chief of Staff, and the Director-General of the National Institute of Polar Research.

The icebreaker carried a team of approximately 170 MSDF personnel led by Captain Hiroki Matsuda, and is scheduled to pick up 73 observation personnel at Fremantle, Australia.

The MSDF first led the Japan Antarctic Research Expedition in 1965, and carried out its inaugural mission on the icebreaker “Fuji.”

The 54th Japan Antarctic Research Expedition marks the fourth mission for the icebreaker “Shirase.”

MSDF Chief of Staff Kawano making a rousing speech
MSDF Chief of Staff Kawano making a rousing speech
Shirase leaving the quay
Shirase leaving the quay
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