Archived posts from category ‘Japan Security Watch’

Asia Security Watch: North Korea Goes Retro

by CRAIG SCANLAN Kim Jong Un’s turn as nostalgic replacement for his late grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, wasn’t the only bit of “history made new again” to come out of North Korea this week. North Korea has acquired U.S.-made MQM-107 Streaker target drones from the Middle East and is seeking to use them as a basis [...]

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Asia Security Watch: Boeing backs away from F-15 Silent Eagle development, ROK left hanging

by CRAIG SCANLAN Writing about the Republic of Korea’s rapid advancement in military prowess generally points towards the positive, the country having accomplished great leaps in a short span of time, but when this topic veers to that of ROK Air superiority, the current South Korean state of affairs can be lumped in with what [...]

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Japan Security Watch: Japan’s Space Agency to Take On National Security Role

by KYLE MIZOKAMI Japan’s answer to NASA — JAXA — is slated to add defense and intelligence tasks to its traditionally civilian role. Kyodo explains: A government panel on space program strategy plans to revise a law to allow the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to step outside its current commitment to peaceful projects and become [...]

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A First for Japan: SDF Joint Task Force Stood Up for Earthquake Response

by KYLE MIZOKAMI Joint Task Force-Tohoku is the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ first-ever operationally deployed joint task force, commanding Ground, Air, and Maritime Self Defense Force units. JTF-Tohoku is commanded by Lieutenant General Eiji Kimizuka of the Ground Self Defense Forces. This is a big deal. Japan’s armed forces have a history of maddening parochialism. During [...]

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Japan Security Watch: Japan and Pacific Partnership 2011

by KYLE MIZOKAMI Last year, for the first time Japan deployed a MSDF vessel in support of the U.S. Navy’s annual Pacific Partnership program. JS Kunisaki, an Ohsumi-class LST, was loaded with doctors, nurses, dentists, and engineers and sent to follow USNS Mercy as she worked her way from the South Pacific to Southeast Asia. [...]

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Japan Security Watch: Tanks Deployed to Stricken N-Plant

by KYLE MIZOKAMI According to the Daily Yomiuri, the GSDF is sending two Type 74 main battle tanks to the Fukushima Daiichi reactor to help clean up rubble and debris from the earthquake, tsunami, and explosions at the reactor site. The rubble and debris are hampering emergency efforts to repair the reactors. The GSDF is [...]

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Japan Security Watch: Matsushima Air Base

by KYLE MIZOKAMI Matsushima Air Base, just north of Sendai, suffered heavy damage due to flooding during the tsunami that swept the region. Located just seven feet (2.2 meters) above sea level, Matsushima was also located right on the coastline, and the wall of water swept over the base and continued inland. Damage at the [...]


Japan Security Watch: The Next Day

by JAMES SIMPSON Yesterday I experienced the most surreal moments my still short life has had to offer: terra firma swaying like the deck of a storm-stricken ship, and a two-hour walk home through absolute darkness in the outskirts of the world’s largest city. My wife returned home after an eight-hour walk, a fellow refugee [...]

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Iron Fist 2011, Part Four: How Good Are These Guys?

by KYLE MIZOKAMI The Japan Self Defense Forces are a lot like subatomic particles. Everyone knows they exist, or rather believes in the larger order of things that says they should exist, but few people can really tell you what they’re really like. The SDF keeps a low profile, in large part due to the [...]

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Japan’s New Fighter a $100-Billion Program?

by KYLE MIZOKAMI The Associated Press ran an article today which quotes General Hideyuki Yoshioka, director of air systems development at the Ministry of Defense as saying that the ATD-X, or Shinshin (“Spirit”) fighter will fly for the first time some time in 2014. [Yoshioka] said Japan has put 39 billion yen ($473 million) into [...]

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Iron Fist 2011, Part Three: Armies and Transparency

by KYLE MIZOKAMI This was my second opportunity to cover troops in the field, and my first ever with the GSDF. How to divide my attention? Should I talk to the Americans, who were approachable and from whom information flowed freely? The Japanese, who were more difficult to talk to, but who were precisely the [...]

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Iron Fist 2011, Part Two: Talking English and the Alliance in a Nutshell

by KYLE MIZOKAMI The scenario was this: 3 Company, Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self Defense Forces, had landed on Camp Pendleton’s Red Beach and pushed ashore into the coastal foothills. The next phase of the exercise was the passage of lines. While the Japanese held the outer ring of the “beachhead,” a U.S. [...]

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