Last month the 14th annual Chiefs of Defense Conference was held at Camp Smith, Hawaii. Hosted by U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), the conference . Past attendees to the conference include defense chiefs from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United States, and Vietnam. (China, which has been invited fourteen times to the conference, has yet to attend.) Representing Japan was General Ryoichi Oriki, Chief of Staff of the Self Defense Forces.

According to Major General Michael A. Keltz, J-5 (Strategic Planning and Policy) for U.S. Pacific Command, General Oriki did a three hour brief and discussion on the Tohoku disaster to the other Asia/Pacific defense chiefs at the CHOD conference. The brief, which described the Self Defense Forces’ response to Tohoku, also described how other nations responded — according to Keltz, more than 50 nations responded to the crisis with help.

General Keltz mentioned events from the crisis that I had not heard before. A vast majority of the GSDF’s Western Army was moved north from Kyushu to the Tohoku region. Many of the troops were moved by Royal Australian Air Force C-17 transports. Three of the RAAF’s C-17s were sent to Japan; the fourth would have been sent but was in depot-level maintenance. The RAAF C-17s were also used to move Bechtel water cannons from New Zealand to Japan, where they were used to cool the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor complex.

Something else General Keltz said that I had not heard: Keltz stated that, “the Japanese populace, the media and also the politicians are starting to use the polite form of Japanese when referring back to the Japan Self-Defense Forces.” (I had not heard this, but I’m not in Japan, either. Anyone care to comment on this last point?)

Here’s DoDLive‘s blog post on the blogger’s roundtable, which includes a transcript.

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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 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch