Youtube Friday: The MSDF Fleet to the Sound of Neon Genesis Evangelion

In his discussion of a recent internet survey (with a terribly small sample) among South Koreans regarding the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute, Ampontan posted this nice rundown of the MSDF fleet, in English to the crisis-mode music of the excellent anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s a long one, but a nice reference guide.

I’ll leave the determination of its accuracy to those more knowledge about about naval vessels.

I will say this though, there is nothing quite like writing a blog post to that music!

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EDIT: These extra videos (Courtesy of Gray in the comments) show the fleets of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN):

… and a slightly out-dated video showing the fleet of the South Korean Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN)

Thanks to Gray for digging up these videos and if you appreciate his contribution, please give his comment below a thumbs up.

EDIT 2: Another MSDF video courtesy of Viktor:

Be sure to give him a thumbs up below

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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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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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Hajime Funada (LDP): Increasing Public Bond with the Self-Defense Force

Hajime Funada (LDP): Increasing Public Bond with the Self-Defense Force

Hajime Funada, an LDP politician, writes on the SDF's surge of goodwill following the Tohoku Earthquake.

Futenma Realignment Adjustment: Relief for the Alliance or Long-term Danger?

Futenma Realignment Adjustment: Relief for the Alliance or Long-term Danger?

The always wonderfully straightforward and sensible Yuki Tatsumi has published a short piece on CSIS arguing that, although there might be a sense of relief on both sides of the Pacific after the agreement to separate the construction of the Henoko replacement facility for Futenma from the transfer of US Marines to Guam and return...

Read more... A Review of the Three Principles on Arms Exports

Great little reader over at today:

Late 2011 saw the third review of the Three Principles on Arms Exports since their creation in 1967. How does the latest phase of review differ from the past two? Defense specialist Murayama Yūzō looks at the history of the reviews and what direction future policy should take.


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News Flash: Tanaka Replaces Private Secretary, F15 Parts Lost 115 Times Since 2007, Shiga Requests SDF Snow Aid

There are a series of very important small pieces of news in the press today:

Defense Minister Tanaka Replaces Private Secretary

After several gaffes by the new defense minister, see Shisaku for an excellent list, Naoki Tanaka has replaced his private secretary and reinstated former Defense Minister Kitazawa’s secretary in hopes of releasing some of the incredible pressure he is under at the Diet.

An experienced defense policy professional, Manabu Mannami stepped down today after two years as private secretary, and Takahiro Yoshida returns to Ichigaya from the Ministry’s Defense Planning Bureau. Tanaka blames Mannami’s ineptitude for his poor Diet performance, and stated that he wanted to be prepared to deal with the current Budgetary Committee deliberations.  The Asahi states that officials at the ministry believe the change came at his wife’s requestMakiko Tanaka was Koizumi’s Foreign Minister and is a powerful Ozawa supporter.


F15 Parts Lost on 115 Occasions Since 2007

The Asahi reports that since 2007, there have been 115 incidents of parts falling from ASDF F15s mid-flight – of which only nine were reported to the local government, and only six were officially announced to the press. The ASDF says that small parts frequently drop off with little chance of damage, but local authorities complain that this information should be passed on regardless.

The study, made by the ASDF Staff Office, covers incidents spanning from April 2007 to December 2011. Most of the incidents involve bolts or screws dropping from the plane. By base, the figures are as follows:

  • Hyakuri (Ibaraki): 29 incidents
  • Nyutabara (Miyazaki): 22 incidents
  • Tsuiki (Fukuoka): 20 incidents
  • Komatsu (Ishikawa): 16 incidents
  • Chitose (Hokkaido): 14 incidents
  • Naha (Okinawa): 10 incidents
  • Gifu (Gifu): 2 incidents


SDF Deployed to Handle Shiga Snow

For the first time in 31 years, the SDF were requested to aid Shiga Prefecture with the record snowfall. The SDF were requested by Shiga and Kyoto Prefecutures following a record 87 centimeters of snow (as recorded in Maizuru, Kyoto). The snow has left 21 households and 56 people isolated in the town of Makino in Takashima, Shiga.

The SDF can be called into action by local authorities to deal with disaster situations, and they are frequently requested for help against heavy snow. For information on the involvement of the SDF in local snow operations, see my post from last year.

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loading... Japan’s Diplomatic Agenda for the Asia-Pacific

Jiji Press commentator Yoshikatsu Suzuki discusses the way ahead for Japanese diplomacy in 2012, focusing relevantly enough on the Philippines, which recently offered the US a chance at a new base – an offer the US has turned down, and the Indian Ocean, in whose ports Suzuki sees Japan needing to gain a presence. It makes for an interesting look at some of the contemporary issues affecting Japanese foreign policy.

The year 2012 marks the start of efforts to build a new order in the Asia-Pacific region. The world faces a number of difficult issues and situations whose outcome is in doubt: the Arab Spring, the European crisis, Iran’s nuclear program, and the outlook for North Korea after the death of Kim Jong-il. Now is the time for writing new rules and formulating new frameworks for an era of change. Things are already beginning to stir on the political stage, with changes of government, scheduled or otherwise, likely in a number of countries in the near future.


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Monday Morning Reading for 01/16

Monday Morning Reading for 01/16

Start your week with JSW's Monday Morning Reading, with some of the more in-depth articles we came across to keep you going throughout your working week.


New Blog: Japan Foreign Policy Observatory

In November 2011, Tiago Mauricio and Rui Faro Saraiva, graduate students of Kyoto and Osaka Universities (respectively), created Japan Foreign Policy Observatory as a means of advancing their studies into Japanese foreign and security policy. The blog is an excellent piece of work covering both current events and theory, and should certainly be added to your daily Japan reading as a counterpoint to our work here at JSW.

We look forward to seeing where JFPO goes, and wish its creators good luck with their studies.

Go to JFPO site

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N Korean Documentary for Kim Jong-Un’s Birthday Emphasizes Military Strength (Link)

Perhaps seeking to show his affinity with those best equipped to overthrow him, North Korean TV aired a documentary emphasizing the young leader role as a military leader, the Asahi’s Asia & Japan Watch reports:

The documentary, which aired on what is believed to be Kim Jong Un’s birthday, is the second in a week to show Kim with military units, and underlines his pledge to carry out his father’s “military first” policy. A week ago, footage showed Kim paying a New Year’s Day visit to a premier tank division with strong historical and family ties.

Read more

[H/T @shilkytouch]

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loading... The Gulf War and Japanese Diplomacy

The Gulf War was a watershed moment in Japanese foreign policy history and its effects still ripple across the foreign policy debate. The excellent covers the issue as part of a series of featured articles on Japanese post-Cold War foreign policy.