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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 October 14 - 20  > Prepare for expanded overseas missions: PM Abe at SDF ceremony
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2015 October 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

Prepare for expanded overseas missions: PM Abe at SDF ceremony

October 17 & 19, 2015
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo gave an address in a review hosted by the Maritime Self-Defense Force on October 18, expressing his intent to expand the SDF’s role abroad based on the war legislation.

PM Abe, also the SDF supreme commander, attended the ceremony which was held on an SDF escort vessel in Sagami Bay of Kanagawa Prefecture. He addressed SDF members, saying, “I hope you will play a more important role than before,” referring to the national security laws which the ruling coalition steamrollered through the Diet in September.

The prime minister also showed his resolve to further strengthen Japan’s military contributions to the world under the name of “proactive pacifism”, saying, “We must assure Japan’s peace with our own hands.”

The Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF hold an annual review in turn. This year, the MSDF mobilized 42 naval vessels and 39 aircraft. Along with them, a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey transport aircraft took part in an MSDF review for the first time. During the ceremony, the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, which was just deployed to the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa early this month, joined the flotilla.

After his speech, PM Abe boarded an MSDF helicopter and landed on the Ronald Reagan. This is the first time for a Japanese prime minister to go on board a U.S. nuclear carrier. This appears to be a performance intended to convey to the public the extent of the strong military alliance between Japan and the United States.

*****

Since the beginning of October, the Defense Ministry has put up posters to publicize this SDF event on trains in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

One of the posters carries a large photo image of an SDF Aegis destroyer and an amphibious boat rushing alongside spraying water. That says, “No borders exist in our desire to save someone.”

Those posters have been hung in trains mainly connecting Tokyo with Yokohama. In some cases, all the carriages (normally around 10) of a train were filled wall to wall with these ads.

Many passengers said, “I felt scared when I saw all those ads,” and “I feel this demonstrates an aspect of the enacted war legislation.”
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