Naoki Tanaka
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...

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?


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”...

Ichikawa Gone, Tanaka In

Ichikawa Gone, Tanaka In

Prime Minister Noda selects Naoki Tanaka as the next Minister of Defense, but is he the right man for the job?