'We are assigned to guard U.S. carrier': MSDF
Maritime Self-Defense Force senior officers emphasized that MSDF ships are assigned to escort U.S. aircraft carriers. They said this to a Japanese Communist Party research team which visited the JMSDF Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture on February 16.
The JCP team, led by House of Councilors member Koike Akira, was lectured by the Commandant (Yoshikawa Eiji), the Chief of Staff of the Yokosuka District Headquarter, and the commander and its chief of staff of the Self Defense Fleet.
Concerning Japan-U.S. joint exercises between the MSDF and the U.S. Navy that includes U.S. aircraft carrier, MSDF officials emphasized that they are missioned to escort U.S. carriers attracting attacks because of its high value.
They also unveiled the fact that MSDF submarines have been training in areas in Sagami Bay, which is exclusively assigned as a U.S. Naval exercise field.
As regards the MSDF unit deployed to the Indian Ocean under the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, the fleet leaders explained that it calls the unit the Deployment Force Support (DFS) unit of the Maritime Deployment Force for the Indian Ocean (DFI) under the Self Defense Fleet commander and that three ships from the 64th Fleet Escort Force have been deployed to the area in a six-month rotation.
The MSDF Anti-submarine Warfare Center is within the U.S. Naval Base Yokosuka site.
After the inspection, Koike stated that the JCP will take up the issue of Japan-U.S. military integration in the Diet, specifically the ongoing U.S. military transformation, including its plan to replace its conventional carrier with a nuclear-powered one. (end)
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