There are a series of very important small pieces of news in the press today:
Defense Minister Tanaka Replaces Private Secretary
After several gaffes by the new defense minister, see Shisaku for an excellent list, Naoki Tanaka has replaced his private secretary and reinstated former Defense Minister Kitazawa’s secretary in hopes of releasing some of the incredible pressure he is under at the Diet.
An experienced defense policy professional, Manabu Mannami stepped down today after two years as private secretary, and Takahiro Yoshida returns to Ichigaya from the Ministry’s Defense Planning Bureau. Tanaka blames Mannami’s ineptitude for his poor Diet performance, and stated that he wanted to be prepared to deal with the current Budgetary Committee deliberations. The Asahi states that officials at the ministry believe the change came at his wife’s request – Makiko Tanaka was Koizumi’s Foreign Minister and is a powerful Ozawa supporter.
F15 Parts Lost on 115 Occasions Since 2007
The Asahi reports that since 2007, there have been 115 incidents of parts falling from ASDF F15s mid-flight – of which only nine were reported to the local government, and only six were officially announced to the press. The ASDF says that small parts frequently drop off with little chance of damage, but local authorities complain that this information should be passed on regardless.
The study, made by the ASDF Staff Office, covers incidents spanning from April 2007 to December 2011. Most of the incidents involve bolts or screws dropping from the plane. By base, the figures are as follows:
- Hyakuri (Ibaraki): 29 incidents
- Nyutabara (Miyazaki): 22 incidents
- Tsuiki (Fukuoka): 20 incidents
- Komatsu (Ishikawa): 16 incidents
- Chitose (Hokkaido): 14 incidents
- Naha (Okinawa): 10 incidents
- Gifu (Gifu): 2 incidents
SDF Deployed to Handle Shiga Snow
For the first time in 31 years, the SDF were requested to aid Shiga Prefecture with the record snowfall. The SDF were requested by Shiga and Kyoto Prefecutures following a record 87 centimeters of snow (as recorded in Maizuru, Kyoto). The snow has left 21 households and 56 people isolated in the town of Makino in Takashima, Shiga.
The SDF can be called into action by local authorities to deal with disaster situations, and they are frequently requested for help against heavy snow. For information on the involvement of the SDF in local snow operations, see my post from last year.
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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