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Japan Defense Focus No.127 Sep. 2020


JMSDF Training and Exercises

Mine Warfare Exercise and Special Minesweeping Exercise (Japan-US bilateral exercise)

From July 18th to 30th, JMSDF conducted a mine warfare exercise and a mine sweeping special exercise including a Japan-U.S. bilateral exercise in Mutsu Bay, Aomori Prefecture. The JMSDF sent its 15 ships from the Mine Warfare Force (two minesweeper tenders, two minesweeper oceans, and eleven minesweepers) along with eight aircraft (three MCH-101s, three P-3Cs, and two P-1s). Two ships (two minesweepers) participated in this exercise from the U.S. Navy.

In the exercise, mine laying, minesweeping, and diving training were conducted.

The exercise was aimed at maintaining and improving JMSDF mine warfare capabilities and strengthening cooperation with the U.S. Navy.

The JMSDF Mine Warfare Force which conducted the latest exercise was formed by combining Mine Warfare Force Division 1 (responsible for minesweeping and training, formed in October 1954 under the direct command of the Director-General of the Defense Agency), and Mine Warfare Force Division 2 (responsible for developing tactics and R&D, formed in 1961) in March 2000.

Subsequently, in 2016, MF was reorganized to incorporate Landing Ship Division 1, which consists of three large transport ships.

Approx. 10,700 mines laid by the United States, and 55,000 mines laid by Japan, remained in Japan’s coastal waters after the war. The force’s original mission was to ensure the safety of maritime traffic from damage caused by these mines and to open up shipping lanes. Later, the force worked to clear mines laid during the Korean War and performed minesweeping missions in the Persian Gulf after the Gulf War. The large minesweeper tenders are also utilized to provide transport of supplies in the event of disasters, and search and rescue services taking advantage of their high mobility.

Explosive ordinance disposal diverExplosive ordinance disposal diver
Operating UUVFarewell pass with USS Patriot
JS Awaji, USS Pioneer, JS Miyajima (from left)

Japan-Philippine Maritime Exercise

On July 18th, JS Teruzuki conducted a communication exercise with the Philippine Navy’s C-90 aircraft in the South China Sea. This C-90 was formerly a JMSDF TC-90 training aircraft, which was later transferred to the Philippines. Through this exercise, the JMSDF strengthened cooperation with the Philippine Navy.

JS TeruzukiWaving hands to C-90

Japan-US-Australia Multilateral Exercise

From 19th to 23rd of July, JS Teruzuki conducted a multilateral exercise with the US Navy ships, USS Ronald Reagan, USS Antietam, USS Mustin, the Royal Australian Navy ships, HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Arunta, HMAS Stuart and Sirius in the South China Sea and east of the Philippines through Guam. The JMSDF continues multi-national exercises to pursue the vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” under the current circumstances of COVID-19 situation.

Japan-US-Australia Multilateral ExerciseMSDF personnel onboard JS Teruzuki