Most irritatingly for defense watchers, Yasuo Ichikawa will be replaced in Prime Minister Noda’s upcoming cabinet shuffle. This comes following the scandal in November in which the Director-General of the Okinawa Defense Bureau used highly unflattering language to describe the delayed release of an environmental report on Futenma. The scandal put Ichikawa under censure in the Diet. It is devastating news for a country that seemed to have finally found stability in his predecessor, Toshimi Kitazawa. For more on the issue of Japan’s changing defense heads, take a look at my post earlier last year from when Ichikawa was given the position.
SDF to South Sudan
In the meantime, Ichikawa was present at the sending-off ceremony of the 40-man advance party of GSDF engineers heading to South Sudan for peacekeeping activities in the capital, Juba. The troops will be leaving for South Sudan later this week.
Tokiwa on Fire
Finally, unavailable in English at the moment, the MSDF supply ship, JS Tokiwa, had a fire yesterday night while berthed at Yokosuka. The fire originated in the power generator of an engine room in the lower decks. Yokosuka City firefighters attended the incident with 16 engines, as did the Coast Guard, and seawater was pumped in to cool the hull. There are no reports of any casualties in the incident.
A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan.
His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch