Monthly archive February, 2012

The Mystery of Japan’s KC-130 Buy

JSW pal Mike Yeo posted last week at his blog, The Base Leg, about a strange Japan Self Defense Forces purchase. Japan is purchasing 6 ex-US Marine Corps KC-130R transport/refueling aircraft. The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency says in a statement: The Government of Japan has requested a possible sale to provide 6 KC-130R and 30...

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Mainichi: Japan tells U.S. it may halt F-35 purchase if prices rise

From Mainichi Daily News yesterday:

Japan tells U.S. it may halt F-35 purchase if prices rise

[...] In a letter dated Feb. 13, the ministry expressed its concern to the Pentagon over a rise in the price tag of the F-35, which is being developed by an international consortium led by U.S. aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp., the sources said.

The ministry also requested a review of the procurement system under a foreign military sales arrangement that allows the United States to change prices at its discretion, the sources said.

[...]

The letter was sent by Hideshi Tokuchi, chief of the ministry’s bureau of finance and equipment, and addressed to Frank Kendall, acting under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Tokuchi said in the letter that the possibility of canceling the F-35 procurement in the event its price rises cannot be denied. If the price does go up and the matter is deliberated in parliament, it would “invite severe criticism” and “jeopardize” the F-35 procurement plan, he said. [...]

Read more at the Mainichi Daily News site

It will be a great shame if Japan cancels its orders of the F-35 due to a price range, not least because the ASDF could really do with being shot of the F-X program so that it can look ahead to the successor to the F-15Js which seem to be slowly deteriorating.

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SDF to Straits of Hormuz?

SDF to Straits of Hormuz?

The Japanese government is considering the possibility of an MSDF dispatch to the Straits of Hormuz, but it seems unlikely that they will agree to a deployment putting them up against Iran's navy.

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Motohiro Tsuchiya: Patriotic Geeks Wanted to Counter a Cyber Militia

The Association of Japanese Institutes of Strategic Studies published a commentary by Keio Prof. Motohiro Tsuchiya examining the need of the Japanese government strengthen its defense against cyber-warfare, no doubt in consideration of the recent hacking scandals that rocked Japan at the end of last year:

Japan was one of the first countries to introduce cyber security measures, having set up the National Information Security Center (NISC) under the Cabinet Secretariat in 2005. The initial concerns were primarily technical issues, exhibiting little awareness that cyber security has to do with national security and crisis management. However, since major cyber-attacks were carried out against the US and South Korea in July 2009, Japan has been making preparations on the assumption that it could be the next target. The government drew up a special national plan titled “Information Security Strategy to Protect Japanese Nationals” in May 2010.

The real challenge of such a strategy is whether the government can secure good experts to counter militias and mercenaries. The rewards that the government can offer would be too small for competent geeks. Even if the government succeeds in employing them, it would be vulnerable unless it keeps them committed long enough – think about the risk of them being hired by adversary forces after their stint in the government! Success hinges on whether the government can secure patriotic geeks.

Read more at the AJISS Commentary site

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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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Update on GSDF’s First Mass-Produced Type-10

The Type-10 Tank during its induction ceremony

The Type-10 Tank during its induction ceremony (Source: Jiji)

Remember back in January when we showed you a video of the first mass production Type-10 tank being induced into the Fuji School of Armor? Well, Shukan Shincho reported in their February 2nd issue that the ceremony was actually hit by a stroke of bad luck: the tank was to be shown off in a demonstration, but on January 9th, the day before the initiation ceremony, a malfunction was discovered in the the protection circuit of the power system forcing the GSDF to cancel the demonstration. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the manufacturer, stated that they were unable to comment on the issue, but the GSDF Public Affairs Office announced that it was a program error, and that repair work was completed on January 22nd.

A bad start for all involved, and as the Shukan Shincho wrote: “You cannot be helped for feeling it’s had bad luck from the beginning.”

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Two Fuels Tanks Drop Off F-2 Fighter

ASDF F-2 Fighter with three fuel tanks - one mounted on each wing, and one attached to the fuselage

ASDF F-2 Fighter with three fuel tanks - one mounted on each wing, and one attached to the fuselage (Source: Mariana)

While accidents involving parts falling off the F-15 have proven quite common recently, it is the F-2 that is making headlines with this latest incident near Guam.

According to NHK, who have a video report accompanying their article, on Feb. 16th, while conducting joint training with US forces (presumably Exercise COPE NORTH) over the Pacific, two fuel tanks fell from an ASDF F-2 fighter. According to the ASDF, the tanks were both seen falling into the sea and there are no reports of any damage as a result of the accident.

The tanks are 6 meters long with a diameter of 80 cm and a weight of 170 kg a piece when empty.

The ASDF is currently investigating the incident and searching for the tanks, so if you spot two floating torpedo-shaped objects in the Pacific near Guam this week, be sure to contact someone at Andersen Air Force Base where the ASDF are housed during COPE NORTH.

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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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Futenma Realignment Adjustment: Relief for the Alliance or Long-term Danger?

Futenma Realignment Adjustment: Relief for the Alliance or Long-term Danger?

The always wonderfully straightforward and sensible Yuki Tatsumi has published a short piece on CSIS arguing that, although there might be a sense of relief on both sides of the Pacific after the agreement to separate the construction of the Henoko replacement facility for Futenma from the transfer of US Marines to Guam and return...

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The Death of Kim Jong-il and Japanese Intelligence

The Death of Kim Jong-il and Japanese Intelligence

The Shukan Bunshun covers the poor handling of the death of Kim Jong-il by Japanese intelligence and, more seriously, Japanese politicians.

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Russian Flying Museum Visits Japan

  According to RIA Novrosti, five Russian military aircraft flew near Japan yesterday, causing Japanese air defenses to scramble. According to the ministry, a total of five Russian planes, including two Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, two Su-24 Fencer reconnaissance planes and an A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft skirted Japanese territory on Wednesday....

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Nippon.com: A Review of the Three Principles on Arms Exports

Great little reader over at Nippon.com today:

Late 2011 saw the third review of the Three Principles on Arms Exports since their creation in 1967. How does the latest phase of review differ from the past two? Defense specialist Murayama Yūzō looks at the history of the reviews and what direction future policy should take.

Read more at Nippon.com

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