Monthly archive March, 2011
Nejibana on Japan's New Foreign Minister

Nejibana on Japan’s New Foreign Minister

Nejibana (of the Twisting Flowers blog) has posted a profile of the Seiji Maehara’s replacement as foreign minister. Takeaki Matsumoto was appointed to the position following Maehara’s resignation over a potential funding scandal caused by the donation of ¥250,000 by a childhood zainichi friend. Zainichi are long-term Korean residents of Japan – they are native...

Read more...
Shinshin a $100 Billion Dollar Program?

Shinshin a $100 Billion Dollar Program?

The Associated Press ran an article today which quotes General Hideyuki Yoshioka, director of air systems development at the Ministry of Defense as saying that the ATD-X, or Shinshin (“Spirit”) fighter will fly for the first time some time in 2014. [Yoshioka] said Japan has put 39 billion yen ($473 million) into the project since...

Read more...
A Cold War Snapshot of the U.S. - Japan Alliance

A Cold War Snapshot of the U.S. – Japan Alliance

In August 1962, Rand Corporation employee Albert Wohlstetter travelled to Japan to investigate the state of Japanese security policy. Wolstetter met with both American and Japanese experts and officials. His report, later published as, “Impressions and Appraisals in Japan” and available at the Rand Corp web site, is an interesting time capsule of Japan in the...

Read more...
What “Burden”?

What “Burden”?

Here’s another guest post from JSW contributor Shino Hateruma. This is an introductory post by Shino on U.S. – Japanese relations and the bases on Okinawa. Shino is Japanese but identifies herself as Okinawan. Congratulations to Shino for being accepted into the Ph.D. program at Waseda University! Considering the concentration of the military stationed there,...

Read more...
China rocks the boat

China rocks the boat

It was a disturbing week for China-watchers. March 2nd saw the Chinese causing trouble with their neighbours: two Y-8 planes headed to the Senkaku islands causing the Japanese ASDF to scramble into action, illegal fishing inside Korean waters, and the harassment of Philippine vessels near the Spratly Islands. Add the other concerning news that there...

Read more...
Russian Missiles, Attack Helicopters for the Kurils...but Why?

Russian Missiles, Attack Helicopters for the Kurils…but Why?

In a curious development, Russia has decided to deploy advanced weapons systems to the southern Kuril Islands, claimed by Japan as the Northern Territories. According to Kyodo, Russia has decided to deploy Tor-M2 surface to air missile systems and Mi-28 attack helicopters to the Kurils. Tor-M2, a point defense SAM with a maximum range of...

Read more...
Iron Fist 2011: "How Good Are These Guys?" (Part 4 of 4)

Iron Fist 2011: “How Good Are These Guys?” (Part 4 of 4)

Fourth of a four part series. The Japan Self Defense Forces are a lot like subatomic particles. Everyone knows they exist, or rather believes in the larger order of things that says they should exist, but few people can really tell you what they’re really like. The SDF keeps a low profile, in large part due...

Read more...
Iron Fist 2011: Armies & Transparency (Part 3 of 4)

Iron Fist 2011: Armies & Transparency (Part 3 of 4)

Third of a four part series that will run through Friday. This was my second opportunity to cover troops in the field, and my first ever with the GSDF. How to divide my attention? Should I talk to the Americans, who were approachable and from whom information flowed freely? The Japanese, who were more difficult...

Read more...
Japan-ASEAN Summit on cyberwarfare countermeasures

Japan-ASEAN Summit on cyberwarfare countermeasures

While it seems that Sino-Japan relations are on an upward trajectory,1 the degree of concern about China’s behaviour has not necessarily declined throughout East Asia. Today the Yomiuri Shimbun has reported (jp) that Japan will host a meeting with ASEAN with a view to strengthening cyberwarfare countermeasures cooperation – and the article suggests there will be...

Read more...
ASDF scrambles to intercept Chinese planes in East China Sea

ASDF scrambles to intercept Chinese planes in East China Sea

At noon on March 2nd, two Chinese Y-8 naval airplanes were detected 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the Senkaku islands, the closest ever approach by Chinese airplanes to the islands, according to the Ministry of Defense’s Joint Staff Office. The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled F-15J fighters to intercept the two Chinese planes, an “intelligence...

Read more...
Iron Fist 2011: Talking English and the Alliance in a Nutshell (Part 2 of 4)

Iron Fist 2011: Talking English and the Alliance in a Nutshell (Part 2 of 4)

Second in a four part series that will run through Friday. The scenario was this: 3 Company, Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self Defense Forces, had landed on Camp Pendleton’s Red Beach and pushed ashore into the coastal foothills. The next phase of the exercise was the passage of lines. While the Japanese held...

Read more...
Iron Fist 2011: The Making of a Modern Japanese Marine Corps (Part 1 of 4)

Iron Fist 2011: The Making of a Modern Japanese Marine Corps (Part 1 of 4)

First of a four part series that will run through Friday. It was beautiful, cloudless day at Camp Pendleton, and the U.S. Marine Corps air-ground menagerie was visible in all directions. In the distance, CH-46 transport helicopters practiced swooping down on and taking off from a simulated ship deck. A UH-1Y Huey / AH-1W Super...

Read more...