On August 27th, the naming and launching ceremony of the MSDF’s new destroyer, “KAGA,” was held at the Japan Marine United Corporation’s Isogo Works in Yokohama Shipyard and attended by State Minister of Defense Akira Sato. Kaga is an Izumo class destroyer, which has the largest displacement standard among MSDF vessels, and it is planned to be commissioned in March 2017.
The MOD released its overview of FY2016 budget request in the end of August. The budget request for FY2016 states that the MOD will continue to steadily improve defense capabilities in order to develop a Dynamic Joint Defense Force, as the third fiscal year of defense build-up in accordance with the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Medium Term Defense Program approved by the Cabinet in 2013.
The MOD will build defense capabilities with particular emphasis on ISR capabilities, intelligence capabilities, transportation capability, command and control, information and communications capabilities, response to an attack on remote islands, response to ballistic missile attacks, responses in outer space and cyber space, responses to major disasters, and responses focused on international peace cooperation activities and other similar activities. These defense capabilities will allow the MOD and the SDF to seamlessly and swiftly play such roles as practicing effective deterrence and response to various situations, stabilization of the Asia-Pacific region and improvement of global security environments while attempting to further improve the joint functions.
In light of the increasingly severe fiscal situation, the MOD will strive to achieve greater efficiency and streamlining compatible with other national policies through initiatives such as long-term contracts.
On the Disaster Prevention Day, September 1st, the MOD and the SDF participated in comprehensive disaster preparedness drills hosted by the Cabinet Office in order to ensure the prompt and effective disaster relief activities in case of an earthquake occurring directly beneath the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Kenji Harada, and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Hirotaka Ishikawa observed the joint disaster preparedness drill involving nine local governments held in Tachikawa City, Tokyo.
The 10th International Peace Cooperation Basic Course was held at the Japan Peacekeeping Training and Research Center (JPC) of the Joint Staff College from September 28th to October 2nd. This course was attended by 47 MOD personnel including GSDF, MSDF and ASDF personnel as well as one person from the Cabinet Office and five persons from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for a total of 53 participants.
The International Peace Cooperation Basic Course is mainly held for SDF personnel ranked from Major to Captain (Lieutenant commander to Lieutenant) and equivalent administrative officials, engaged in educational affiliated with these activities at SDF schools, and in practical work at the headquarters or major commands of the GSDF, MSDF, or ASDF. The course’s curriculum covers basic knowledge of international peace cooperation activities centered on the UN as well as the knowledge needed to carry out Japan’s activities within the latest environment.
Participants for this course included three personnel who will be dispatched to Juba as members of the International Peace Cooperation Corps in South Sudan. Makoto Kubo, an engineering official who will soon be dispatched to UNMISS, said, "It was very meaningful education for me since I could learn advanced information about broad international peace cooperation activities not also only each a specific mission. I will be in charge of technical coordination between international organizations and local government in South Sudan, I would like to make full use of this knowledge I learnt here."
In addition, Mr. Gen Michiyama described as follows, “I could get useful knowledge for my present job including dispatching process of SDF to abroad. I believe participation from relevant ministries to the course of MOD is valuable opportunity for both sides.” Mr. Michiyama is currently on assignment with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Japan Coast Guard. He is stationed at the Embassy of Japan in Oman where he works with local ministries and agencies to coordinate arrivals and departures of SDF’s P-3C aircraft and SDF vessels that are taking part in counter-piracy operations.
Starting in FY2014, JPC has opened its advanced and intermediate international peace cooperation courses to relevant ministries and agencies in Japan and other countries as well as opened up the International Peace Cooperation Basic Course to relevant ministries and agencies in Japan. This is because the functions and roles required of UN peacekeeping operations, international disaster relief operations, counter-piracy operations, and various humanitarian assistance activities have expanded and grown more complex with each passing year, along with the various issues facing these operations. As a result, these operations require the cooperation and collaboration among multiple relevant ministries and agencies to ensure that Japan’s contributions are actualized. Therefore, it is important to share knowledge, promote mutual understanding and establish a human network during peacetime through common education and training programs.
Going forward, JPC will continue to actively provide these human resource development opportunities as part of its ongoing commitment to international peace cooperation.