Monthly archive February, 2011
Recommended Read: Economic Crisis Shakes US Forces Overseas

Recommended Read: Economic Crisis Shakes US Forces Overseas

    I would like to recommend an interesting article written by Yonamine Michiyo over at Japan Focus. Originally appearing in the February addition of Sekai, it has been translated by Rumi Sakamoto and Matthew Allen (Rumi also lectures at the University of Auckland and I believe Matthew used to). Among other things it provides a thorough...

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SDF Calendar: March

SDF Calendar: March

As we enter March, let the MSDF spice up your desktop. [ 800 x 600 ] [ 1024 x 768 ] [ 1280 x 1024 ]

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Managing the US-Japan Alliance

Managing the US-Japan Alliance

The US-Japan Security Treaty has been the backbone of Japan’s national defense posture for 51 years. In its current form, the security of Japan is heavily reliant on the US military presence. While most Japanese recognise the importance of the pact for their security, the relationship is not without significant tension nor existential crises. 20...

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Mike Mochizuki on Sino-Japanese relations and the Senkaku incident

Mike Mochizuki on Sino-Japanese relations and the Senkaku incident

Another interesting read this morning was The Oriental Economist’s Richard Katz’s interview with Mike Mochizuki, a leading academic on Japanese politics and foreign policy. Asia Policy Point, for whom Mochizuki is a board member, reprinted the interview online for all to see. Katz:Is this incident a turning point in the “threat perception” of China by...

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Kazuo Ogoura on Russian aims in the Northern Territories

Kazuo Ogoura on Russian aims in the Northern Territories

The president of the Japan Foundation, Kazuo Ogoura, had an editorial in the Japan Times today examining the current Northern Territories flare-up. Ogoura spent 40 years working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 of which were in ambassadorial positions in Vietnam, South Korea and France. Reported Russian military steps or such intentions with regard...

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Japan bends arms export rules

Japan bends arms export rules

The biggest piece of news concerning the Self-Defense Forces this week is Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa’s announcement that Japan will sell used propellors from the MSDF’s US-1A flying boats. The propellors will be used to supply the Afghan military with some refurbished transport planes. The US approached Japan secretly in August 2010 to ask for...

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U.S. Lawmakers Visit Japan to Promote Bilateral Ties

U.S. Senator Jim Webb led a team of six congressional lawmakers to Japan earlier this week in an effort to push U.S. – Japan ties. Webb, the senior senator from Virginia, is known as something of an Asiaphile. Having served as a Marine officer in Vietnam, Webb has also written about and travelled extensively throughout Asia....

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Does Japan have an secret foreign intelligence service?

Does Japan have an secret foreign intelligence service?

That is the question raised in the Sydney Morning Herald today. According to a cable leaked exclusively to the SMH,  a secret foreign intelligence service “modelled on Western intelligence services such as the CIA, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and Britain’s MI6″ has been created as part of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office –...

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Cost disparity between Japanese and US military hardware

Cost disparity between Japanese and US military hardware

With Japan scaling back its defense budget, it is important to understand how the country spends its money. One of the areas often forgotten by general observers is the sheer cost at which Japan purchases its hardware. Japan pursues an informal policy of building whatever it can within the country, either through domestic research and...

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Iron Fist 2011: JSW Video

Here’s some video from the exercise, with commentary thrown in as anotations. The video is not all that useful and more resembles B roll, but it’s all I got. I only had a few hours and was torn between filming tanks, conversations in English, conversations in Japanese, and conversations in English and Japanese. This video...

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Iron Fist 2011: DVIDS Video

Captain Hollenbeck (my host for my visit to Camp Pendleton) and his public affairs people are doing a great job uploading video from the Iron Fist exercise. The Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System is currently hosting more than thirty videos in all, covering everything from rigid inflatable boat training to weapons familiarization. Here’s a...

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Iron Fist 2011: The Mysterious Grenade Launcher

Iron Fist 2011: The Mysterious Grenade Launcher

Saturday afternoon, my wife and I were enjoying Mexican food and margaritas in the lovely San Diego sunshine. We ate at tables on the sidewalk, under thatched umbrellas, people watching. Young men walked by in packs of fours and fives, wearing polo shirts and uniformly short haircuts, and it began to occur to me that...

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