Monthly archive January, 2012

Daily Yomiuri: Mitsubishi Electric hit with suspension for bill padding

The Defense Ministry and two other government entities have suspended Mitsubishi Electric Corp. as a designated contractor because the company has been found to have inflated invoices, the ministry has announced.

The ministry, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center made the announcements and suspended the company Friday for unspecified periods. The ministry added that Mitsubishi contacted it to admit the allegations the same day.

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Nippon.com: Japan’s Diplomatic Agenda for the Asia-Pacific

Jiji Press commentator Yoshikatsu Suzuki discusses the way ahead for Japanese diplomacy in 2012, focusing relevantly enough on the Philippines, which recently offered the US a chance at a new base – an offer the US has turned down, and the Indian Ocean, in whose ports Suzuki sees Japan needing to gain a presence. It makes for an interesting look at some of the contemporary issues affecting Japanese foreign policy.

The year 2012 marks the start of efforts to build a new order in the Asia-Pacific region. The world faces a number of difficult issues and situations whose outcome is in doubt: the Arab Spring, the European crisis, Iran’s nuclear program, and the outlook for North Korea after the death of Kim Jong-il. Now is the time for writing new rules and formulating new frameworks for an era of change. Things are already beginning to stir on the political stage, with changes of government, scheduled or otherwise, likely in a number of countries in the near future.

Read more at Nippon.com.

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Factlet #2: Until 2011, Japan had domestically produced fighters for 55 continuous years

This week’s factlet will come as no surprise to regular readers: until the last F2 fighter rolled off Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ production line last December, Japan had been producing fighters domestically for 55 years without interruption.

Mitsubishi has produced all of Japan’s domestically-built fighters in continuous production since the first construction began on the F86 Sabre under license in 1956. The break in production is a terrifying prospect for Mitsubishi and IHI (jet engine manufacturer), who fear a loss of skills and construction/development capability. Japan maintains these skills through research platforms such the ATD-X ‘Shinshin’, as well as through securing some measure of assembly and production through the F35 deal with Lockheed Martin.

In January 2010, Nikkei Business wrote a special feature on Japan’s defense aircraft entitled “Last Chance”. That article featured a chart depicting the domestically-developed fighter program, translated and updated below. Note that the F1 is the only fighter on the list that was domestically developed and produced. All the other fighters were produced under license from American companies.Whether this current gap bodes well for the FXX program (seeking the successor to the F15J) or not remains to be seen.

Click the image below for the full-sized chart:

Timeline of domestic fighter production in Japan

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A Quick and Cheap Power Projection Alternative for Japan

A Quick and Cheap Power Projection Alternative for Japan

Over at the USNI Blog, Galrahn posted a link to a marketing article by the shipping company Maersk Line. Galrahn calls it “A Potential Plan B for Seabasing“. The article discusses converting Maersk commercial container ships into Afloat Forward Staging Bases, complete with everything from a 14 V-22 Osprey-capable flight deck to the ability to...

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Factlet #1: Personnel Costs Account for 45% of SDF Budget

Of the ¥4,645.3 billion currently drafted for defense for FY2012, 45% (¥2,070.1 billion) will be paid towards personnel labor and supplies (food, etc.) costs. This would also include training costs.

Defense Related Costs (FY2012 Draft Budget)

Defense Related Costs (FY2012 Draft Budget) (Source: Weekly Toyo Keizai)

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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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Japan's Space Agency to Take On National Security Role

Japan’s Space Agency to Take On National Security Role

Japan’s answer to NASA — JAXA — is slated to add defense and intelligence tasks to its traditionally civilian role. Kyodo explains: A government panel on space program strategy plans to revise a law to allow the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to step outside its current commitment to peaceful projects and become involved in the...

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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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Monday Morning Reading for 01/16

Monday Morning Reading for 01/16

Start your week with JSW's Monday Morning Reading, with some of the more in-depth articles we came across to keep you going throughout your working week.

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Video: Type-10 Tank Initiation Ceremony

From Jiji on January 10th, we have this wonderful video of the initiation ceremony of the first mass production model of the Type-10 tank into the GSDF’s armor training unit at the GSDF Fuji School in Shizuoka Prefecture, whose open day I attended last year.

Until this point, the Type-10s in use at the school have been experimental production models. The mass production model now entering service with the school is the product of several changes and upgrades on the experimental models.

Once the school has received its complement of tanks, expect to see their use extending into the GSDF’s armored units for general service, bringing a much-needed modern light-weight battle tank to fill the gaps caused by the restrictions of the use of the Type-90 outside Hokkaido.

[H/T to Corey Wallace]

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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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New Blog: Japan Foreign Policy Observatory

In November 2011, Tiago Mauricio and Rui Faro Saraiva, graduate students of Kyoto and Osaka Universities (respectively), created Japan Foreign Policy Observatory as a means of advancing their studies into Japanese foreign and security policy. The blog is an excellent piece of work covering both current events and theory, and should certainly be added to your daily Japan reading as a counterpoint to our work here at JSW.

We look forward to seeing where JFPO goes, and wish its creators good luck with their studies.

Go to JFPO site

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