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New Minister and a Change of Pace at Ichigaya

New Minister and a Change of Pace at Ichigaya

Incoming Defense Minister Onodera's foreign policy background and Ichigaya's new breeze of life over the New Year.

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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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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.

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Shintaro Ishihara on Constitutional Reform

Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo

Shintaro Ishihara, Governor of Tokyo (Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Govt.)

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s political views regarding SDF and military force are well-known, but he added a few extra words this week.

At a regularly held press conference on Feb. 17, Ishihara was asked about his thoughts on the current state of the Self-Defense Forces. He replied, “It would be better for them to be a distinctly military force,” with constitutional reform being necessary to this end. He emphasized that, “It is strange to talk about the SDF, which gradually grew out of the National Police Reserves, operating abroad in the name of self-defense.”

On the recent Russian flights around Japan, he added, “If they enter our territorial waters, we should shoot them down.”

[via NicoNico News]

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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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Top Intelligence Post Vacant

Top Intelligence Post Vacant

Masaru Tsuji steps down as Deputy Director-General of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office with no-one stepping into replace him. What is going on with Japan's central intelligence body?

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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?

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2011 and Japan: Highlighting the Positive Role of the SDF

2011 and Japan: Highlighting the Positive Role of the SDF

JSW contributor James Simpson offers his take on the most important security development for Japan and its neighborhood over the past year: better societal-military relations in Japan.

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National Defense Academy Gets a New Head

National Defense Academy Gets a New Head

Prof. Ryosei Kokubun of Keio University, an expert on the Shino-Japanese relationship, is expected to take over as president of the National Defense Academy this coming April. What will he bring to the education of the SDF elite?

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The First Step Towards a Protection of Secrets Law?

The First Step Towards a Protection of Secrets Law?

Following the Senkaku Islands incident last year, is it any wonder that the government is working hard on producing a Protection of Secrets Law?

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Charting the Recent AFP/GfK Poll on Japanese Public Opinion

Charting the Recent AFP/GfK Poll on Japanese Public Opinion

In early September, Associated Press/GfK released the results of a survey on Japanese public opinion covering a wide range of issues. JSW steps in to provide the data as graphs for all to read.

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Prime Minister Noda and Yasuo Ichikawa, his man at Ichigaya

Prime Minister Noda and Yasuo Ichikawa, his man at Ichigaya

Prime Minister Noda, son of a GSDF paratrooper, appoints an 'amateur' as Minister of Defense, reverses on expectations and disappoints security watchers.

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