Pacific Partnership 2012. JS Kunisaki and two MSDF LCACs. U.S. Department of Defense photo.

Japan will once again send ships and personnel to an annual U.S. – led humanitarian and civic action program. Japan will send the landing ship, tank JS Oosumi, two Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) and twenty medical personnel to Pacific Partnership 2012. The Japanese medical personnel will serve on the mission command ship, the hospital ship USNS Mercy, while Oosumi will serve as base for the two LCAC hovercraft. The hovercraft in turn will be used for ship – to – shore missions when the Mercy will be too large to use local port facilities.

Pacific Partnership brings medical, dental, and veterinary care, as well as engineering assistance and expertise, to distant communities in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The mission makes stops of 14 days at at time, and at least one stop per country.

JS Oosumi will rendezvous with Mercy midway through the mission, in the Philippines. The Japanese will accompany Pacific Partnership to Cambodia, and return to Japan afterward. In addition to Japan, personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand will serve on the mission.

This is the third year that Japan has contributed ships to Pacific Partnership. The first, in 2010, involved Oosumi sister ship Kunisaki and 30 medical officers. Last year’s mission consisted of the minesweeper tender Uraga and 30-40 medical officers.

Japanese LCAC from JS Kunisaki assisiting in earthquake relief operations.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch