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The Japanese Election, the LDP's Manifesto, and Defense

The Japanese Election, the LDP’s Manifesto, and Defense

The Liberal Democratic Party, the party likely to gain the most seats in the upcoming election, has put out an election manifesto with two not particularly new but nonetheless interesting proposals. 1) For Japan to embrace exercising its right to collective self-defense (集団的自衛権行使) if necessary, either by constitutional change or constitutional reinterpretation if necessary. 2)...

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Two Large Steps for the Australia-Japan Relationship on the Horizon?

Two Large Steps for the Australia-Japan Relationship on the Horizon?

Two very interesting pieces of news have surfaced in the last two days regarding the Australia-Japan relationship. On Wednesday morning (日) in New York, Japan and Australia, on the heels of the recent two-plus-two dialogue in Sydney, agreed to further deepening of the strategic partnership, and explicitly committed themselves to making a breakthrough on the Economic Partnership Agreement...

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Key Figures from the MoD FY2013 Budget Request

Key Figures from the MoD FY2013 Budget Request

The Ministry of Defense publishes its FY2013 budget appropriations request including several previously unreported figures.

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Japan's Regional Security Environment and Possibilities for Conflict

Japan’s Regional Security Environment and Possibilities for Conflict

The next 5 months could be one of high drama and tension in East Asia geopolitics due to various leadership transitions and elections. In South Korea we have already seen election year sensitivities coming to have real life policy consequences with the last-minute cancellation of the ACSA/GSOMIA military accords between Japan and the ROK. With the presidential...

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The New Japanese Defense Minister and the Japanese Media Response

The New Japanese Defense Minister and the Japanese Media Response

Much like with the previous two defense ministers, the Japanese media has not let the selection of Professor Morimoto go without comment, albeit for quite different reasons this time around. One narrative was that of the selection potentially leading to improved relations between the Noda administration and the Obama administration. The US Department of Defense...

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Tanaka Out, Morimoto In: Noda's 3rd Defense Minister

Tanaka Out, Morimoto In: Noda’s 3rd Defense Minister

After 5 months of ineptitude, not all of it his own fault, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka - censured in the Diet - is replaced by Satoshi Morimoto. Is there a brighter future for Ichigaya?

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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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Problems piling up for the Japanese F-35 dream

Problems piling up for the Japanese F-35 dream

The Yomiuri has published (j) a report worrying about the British Sunday Times’ revelation that BAE Systems internal network may have been hacked by Chinese spies and critical information on the F-35 fighter may have been lost. Both the UK and the US were targets of the attack. In particular there is concern that the advanced...

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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...

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The Death of Kim Jong-il and Japanese Intelligence

The Death of Kim Jong-il and Japanese Intelligence

The Shukan Bunshun covers the poor handling of the death of Kim Jong-il by Japanese intelligence and, more seriously, Japanese politicians.

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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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Meet the new Japanese defense minister, probably worse than the old one.

Meet the new Japanese defense minister, probably worse than the old one.

One of the few genuine improvements that one could have hoped would come out of the most recent cabinet reshuffle in Japan was that the new defense minister would be an improvement over the previous one. The previous defense minister, Ichikawa Yasuo, got off to a stunning start by declaring himself to be an “amateur”...

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