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Japan Defense Focus No.127 Sep. 2020


Recent Conferences

Defense Minister’s Conferences

Japan-United States-Australia

On July 8th, a virtual trilateral defense ministerial meeting was held between Australian Minister for Defence Reynolds, U.S. Secretary of Defense Esper, and Minister Kono. The ministers reaffirmed their joint commitment to enhance security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region while keeping their shared values and longstanding alliances and close partnerships. The ministers also exchanged views on the roles of defense authorities in light of the global spread of COVID-19 and regional issues such as the situation in the East and South China Seas, Hong Kong, and North Korea. They also discussed the importance of ongoing support for partners in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific region.

United States

On June 24th, Minister Kono held a video teleconference with Representative Diana DeGette (U.S. Congresswoman). On July 10th, the minister received a courtesy call from U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun. They exchanged views on regional affairs, including North Korea.

Courtesy Call by Deputy Secretary of State Biegun

Chief of Staff, Joint Staff’s Teleconferences

On June 30th, General Yamazaki, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff held a teleconference with Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, Chief of the General Staff, Israel Defense Forces. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of promoting Japan-Israel defense cooperation.

On July 2nd, General Yamazaki and General François Lecointre, French Chief of the General Staff, held a video teleconference, and on July 6th, General Yamazaki had a video teleconference with General Sir Nick Carter GCB CBE DSO ADC Gen, British Chief of the Defence Staff. In the respective teleconferences, the leaders discussed the security environment which grows increasingly severe, as well as reaffirmed the importance of the Japan-France and Japan-UK defense cooperation and exchanges.

On July 7th, General Yamazaki held another video teleconference with H.E. Staff Lt. Gen. Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief of Staff, UAE Armed Forces. The two leaders confirmed the importance of promoting Japan-UAE defense cooperation.

In each of these teleconferences, General Yamazaki coincided with each counterpart on closely cooperating to address common challenges in order to ensure the peace and stability in the international community and the region. Opinions were also exchanged about the situation affected by COVID-19 and the efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

General YamazakiGeneral Lecointre of France
General Sir Carter of UKLt. Gen. Al-Rumaithi of UAE

JMSDF Chief of Staff’s Teleconferences

On July 22nd, ADM Yamamura, Chief of Staff, JMSDF held a video teleconference with VADM Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo, Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy. In this VTC, both leaders agreed to further promote defense cooperation, by such means as maritime exercise, in order to maintain and strengthen the Free and Open Indo-Pacific even under the COVID-19 situation.

JASDF Chief of Staff’s Teleconferences

On June 25th, General Marumo, Chief of Staff, Koku-Jieitai (JASDF) held a teleconference with General David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force. Under a new phase called "With Corona," the two senior leaders reaffirmed the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance, which marks its 60th anniversary this year and agreed to further enhance the strong partnership between the two air forces.



On July 14th, the defense white paper for 2020, Defense of Japan 2020, was released. The objective of Defense of Japan is to provide a widespread awareness of the current state of our nation’s defense, as well as related issues and initiatives, thereby gaining the understanding of readers both within Japan and overseas.

The first edition of the defense white paper was compiled in 1970, and the paper has been published annually since 1976. Defense of Japan 2020 marks 50 years since the publication of Japan’s first defense white paper.

Defense of Japan 2020 focuses on major international trends and key activities of the MOD/JSDF in FY2019, such as the MOD/JSDF activities against COVID-19 using all available resources, disaster relief operations for the torrential rains and typhoons that occurred repeatedly over the last year, and the commencement of information gathering activities for ensuring the safety of Japan-related vessels in the Middle East.

The MOD/JSDF sought to make this year’s white paper more accessible and user-friendly than before. In particular, the paper introduces voices of approx. 50 JSDF personnel who have been deployed in various settings both within Japan and overseas and contains QR codes that link users to more than 50 videos related to stories.

The cover of the Defense of Japan 2020 features Mt. Fuji, which also appeared on the cover of Japan’s first defense white paper 50 years ago. Also, illustrations of Japanese plum blossoms and their color make the cover since the name of the era, “Reiwa,” is derived from a poem about plum blossoms in Manyoshu.

The international situation and the security environment surrounding Japan are changing at extremely high speeds. The role and activities of the MOD/ JSDF have been expanding more than ever, and all of them are covered in the latest white paper.

On the MOD website, the digest versions of Defense of Japan 2020 are published in English, Russian, Chinese, Korean, and French.

JSDF’s response to COVID-19SDF vehicles and the Diamond Princess cruise ship
JS Takanami deployed to the Middle EastMSDF personnel engaging in information gathering

JGSDF Northeastern Army Band Participates in Hamina Tattoo Video Greeting Project

JGSDF Northeastern Army Band

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the JGSDF Northeastern Army Band, which was formed in 1960. The band, based at Camp Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture, travels around six prefectures of Tohoku region to hold concerts approx. 100 times annually, serving as a bridge between people and the JGSDF. Their mission is to boost morale among JSDF personnel through performance and to perform for ceremonies and public events.

This year, out of concerns for droplet infection and contact infection arising from the global spread of COVID-19, the situation around the pandemic has made it difficult for people to easily go out, not to mention that they have been asked to avoid congregation in large groups.

Given such circumstances, the JGSDF Northeastern Army Band has stopped holding concerts. Instead, the band has performed remote ensembles on the JGSDF Northeastern Army Band’s YouTube channel.

As part of these activities, the JGSDF Northeastern Army Band was invited to participate in a video greeting project designed by Hamina Tattoo, a biennial military music festival in Finland.

The Hamina Tattoo International Military Music Festival has a 30-year history, and each year has drawn an audience of more than 100,000 from around the world. Unfortunately, this year’s event was cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19 infections, but the tattoo asked the participants in the past festivals to send music performances and video messages, aiming at disseminating voices of encouragement to the world’s healthcare workers fighting against COVID-19.

The JGSDF Northeastern Army Band answered the call and decided to join in the project with a sense of unity to overcome COVID-19 through the remote ensemble and joy at coming together with people all over the world.

The video was released worldwide on August 4th on YouTube. You can see the video at;;=IwAR1mtNx7LvYPnp8othfhX8_G8e9dttRMyISmaRB4j1pap2C3r86Ef8ZHGbU

JGSDF Northeastern Army Band Participates in Hamina Tattoo Video Greeting Project
Major Abe (Commander and Conductor)JGSDF Northeastern Army Band Participates in Hamina Tattoo Video Greeting Project
JGSDF Northeastern Army Band Participates in Hamina Tattoo Video Greeting ProjectJGSDF Northeastern Army Band Participates in Hamina Tattoo Video Greeting Project