Japan Intensifies Maritime Security, Anti-Piracy Operations


Japan’s Defense Minister, Itsunori Onodera [seen above], announced that the country is heavily extending its maritime security operations, including a focus on anti-piracy efforts.

The foreword to the Defense of Japan 2013 (Annual White Paper) Digest is below:

Japan’s security environment is encompassed by various issues and destabilizing factors, some of which are becoming increasingly tangible, acute, and serious.

The security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly harsh, due to challenges such as acts of provocation including the launching of the missile, which North Korea called “Satellite” and the nuclear test by North Korea, and the rapid expansion and intensification of activities by China in the waters and airspace around Japan, including intrusion into Japanese territorial waters and airspace.

Amid this situation, in order to determinedly protect the lives and property of our people, and to defend our land, sea, and airspace, the government has decided to increase the defense-related budget practically for the first time in 11 years to strengthen our defense posture. In addition, we have started intensive studies to revise the National Defense Program Guidelines within this year.

In the field, GSDF, MSDF, and ASDF units are conducting round-the-clock early warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around Japan, including those in the southwestern region, as well as dealing with ballistic missiles launched by North Korea and conducting disaster relief operations.

Following the January 2013 terrorist attack in Algeria, in which Japanese nationals were killed, I dispatched a Japanese government aircraft to bring home Japanese nationals living overseas, marking the first time that a Japanese government aircraft had been used for such a purpose.

Moreover, in order to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance, which plays a significant role in ensuring the safety of Japan, as well as the stability of the Asia-Pacific region, I had several meetings with U.S. Defense Secretary Hagel and engaged in efforts to further strengthen Japan-U.S. defense cooperation, including the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. At the same time, the Ministry is steadily moving forward with the plans for the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan, including the relocation of MCAS Futenma and the return of land areas south of Kadena, in order to mitigate the impact on local communities, such as those in Okinawa, while maintaining its deterrence.

Furthermore, in order to foster peace and stability in the region, the SDF has been actively promoting defense cooperation and exchanges, not only with the U.S.A., but also with a range of other countries. Also, the SDF has been engaging in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, and has been dispatching troops for United Nations peacekeeping operations in South Sudan.

In addition to these initiatives, it is also important to maintain and strengthen defense production and technological bases. As part of this endeavor, an exemption from the Three Principles of Arms Exports and their related guidelines was put in place in March this year, focused on the participation of Japanese industries in the production of the F-35 next-generation fighter aircraft.




Source: http://www.maritime-executive.com/




Leave a reply