Meet Japan's New NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle

Meet Japan’s New NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle

The GSDF's new NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle goes on display at the GSDF Chemical School in Saitama.

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Recent SDF Deployments News

Recent SDF Deployments News

There have been three notable pieces of news regarding SDF deployments in the past week: Tornado Relief A tornado struck the city of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, as well as other locations in Ibaraki and Tochigi on Sunday May 6th, damaging around 2000 buildings with surprisingly only one death (a 14 year old boy) and over...

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SDF Considers Use of US Philippine Bases

SDF Considers Use of US Philippine Bases

While Japan participates in a Command Post Exercise in the Philippines, the US and Japanese governments consider future access and joint use of Philippines bases for training

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MSDF Helicopter Crashes into Sea, Pilot Missing

MSDF Helicopter Crashes into Sea, Pilot Missing

MSDF Seahawk goes down in Mutsu Bay, Aomori, after hitting the port-side of the Matsuyuki. Pilot is missing and the vehicle is lost.

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JSW on Bloomberg (April 10th)

James Simpson on Bloomberg TV

James Simpson on Bloomberg TV

I was invited to give a few comments on Bloomberg’s ON THE MOVE ASIA with Rishaad Salamat to discuss David Cameron’s visit to Japan and the tie-up of British and Japanese defense development. I’d like to thank the staff at Bloomberg’s Asia Offices in Hong Kong for the opportunity. It was a great experience.

 

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Thin Pinstriped Line on Anglo-Japanese Defense Industry Cooperation

For a better analysis of what the recent news on the possibility of Japan and Britain developing defense industry ties, check out the following post by British blogger “Sir Humphrey”:
That said, it is important to be realistic about how much can really be achieved by the signing of this accord. This authors strictly personal view is that it is going to be unlikely to see Japan shifting allegiance to the Eurofighter, and ditching its F35 buy. Indeed, the likelihood of Japan purchasing Eurofighter was always slim, when one considers that the near entirety of the Japanese military is either sourced from US derived designs, or designed to operate with the US.

Even so, there is the possibility of lower level co-operation which could lead to mutual projects of interest, but again it is unlikely to see the Japanese buying into the T26 design. The Japanese have their own national ship design capabilities that they would wish to protect, and its unlikely that their government would willingly sacrifice this hard won capability in order to buy into the T26. What is more likely is the possibility of co-operation in either weapons or ancillary materials – for instance engines or propulsion systems.

Read more over at Thin Pinstriped Line

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UK and Japan to Discuss Defense Industry Cooperation

UK and Japan to Discuss Defense Industry Cooperation

British PM Cameron will discuss UK-Japan defense technology sharing with PM Noda in his upcoming visit to Japan, Mainichi reports

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MHI Delivers 13 Type-10 Tanks in FY2011

Japan's newest tank, the Type-10, flies past

Type-10 at the Fuji School Open Day last year

Friend of JSW, Susumu of Surveillance to Go Nowhere tipped us off to a small news release from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced that they have completed the provision of 13 Type-10 tanks to the Ground Self-Defense Force in FY2011, the first year of a four-year contract to supply of these 58 state-of-the-art tanks. This is on schedule and is pretty much a non-event, except that they are at least getting these tanks through the door.

It is also worth bearing in mind the troubles faced by the first commissioned production-line Type-10 earlier this year – it is unclear just how many of these Type-10 have received their commissioning yet and whether they have faced any further setbacks like the ones reported in January. What is clear is that the replacement for the Type-74 tanks, which have recently seen renewed service in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi crisis, appears to be on track.

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Post-Disaster Opinion: China and the SDF

James Simpson takes a look at the Cabinet Office's recent survey on public attitudes toward the SDF, as well as a brief look at a small poll on Sino-Japanese opinion.

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A Tohoku Earthquake Retrospective...

A Tohoku Earthquake Retrospective…

One year on, James Simpson remembers the Tohoku Earthquake and considers the challenges its has posed, and those that continue to lie ahead.

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NBR on the Anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake

Two very interesting interviews out of National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) looking at Japan one year on from the Tohoku Earthquake.

The first interview entitled ‘Policy Change in a Post-Crisis Japan’ has Richard J Samuels looking at national security through his own research, best seen in his 2007 book Securing Japan:

But there is debate about the lessons of their success for policy going forward. Those who say “put it in gear” have written a “wake-up call” narrative about March 11. They say, “Yes, the efficacy of the SDF and the alliance were demonstrated, but the real threat is not natural disaster. If we start thinking of the SDF merely as a humanitarian-assistance disaster-relief (HA/DR) operation, then we will be taking our eyes off the real threat. The real threats are China and North Korea, and we have to do more to deter them.”

The stay-the-course group offers a “proof of concept” narrative. They say, “What the self-defense forces and the alliance achieved is what we have been telling everyone that they could achieve for decades.” They insist that the effectiveness of the SDF demonstrated that the nation has something it should value and reward with better treatment.

The third group says that the successful deployment of the self-defense forces for rescue and relief after March 11 taught Japan that the SDF is best and most legitimate when it is carrying shovels, not guns. This group argues Japan should return to the true meaning of Article 9, and not be focused on armaments, but on the creation of a global disaster-relief function for the Japanese military.

Read the full interview at NBR

The second interview, ‘Fukushima One Year Later’, has Daniel Aldrich addressing the nuclear and civil society issues following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis:

While the physical landscape in towns like Rikuzentakata, Ofunato, and Minami Sanriku better resembles normalcy, the recovery process is only just beginning. A number of larger issues, such as the balance between the central government’s fiscal control over the recovery process and the desire of local governments to have more autonomy to pursue creative rebuilding efforts, remain unresolved. Other local-level concerns for Tohoku residents, such as issues of radioactive decontamination, counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder, and the long-term economic viability of these coastal communities, which often depend on fishing and canning industries, must be addressed through intergovernmental consultation. Some larger issues, such as the length of time for which evacuated villages will remain empty, and the creation of new no-build zones adjacent to low-lying, vulnerable areas will take considerable political will to tackle.

Read the full interview at NBR

These are part of a much broader retrospective running through the media both here and abroad, and we will be adding out voice here at JSW this weekend. In the meantime, what other excellent articles or documentaries have you seen addressing the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear issues? Let us know in the comments.

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Mainichi: Japan tells U.S. it may halt F-35 purchase if prices rise

From Mainichi Daily News yesterday:

Japan tells U.S. it may halt F-35 purchase if prices rise

[...] In a letter dated Feb. 13, the ministry expressed its concern to the Pentagon over a rise in the price tag of the F-35, which is being developed by an international consortium led by U.S. aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp., the sources said.

The ministry also requested a review of the procurement system under a foreign military sales arrangement that allows the United States to change prices at its discretion, the sources said.

[...]

The letter was sent by Hideshi Tokuchi, chief of the ministry’s bureau of finance and equipment, and addressed to Frank Kendall, acting under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Tokuchi said in the letter that the possibility of canceling the F-35 procurement in the event its price rises cannot be denied. If the price does go up and the matter is deliberated in parliament, it would “invite severe criticism” and “jeopardize” the F-35 procurement plan, he said. [...]

Read more at the Mainichi Daily News site

It will be a great shame if Japan cancels its orders of the F-35 due to a price range, not least because the ASDF could really do with being shot of the F-X program so that it can look ahead to the successor to the F-15Js which seem to be slowly deteriorating.

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