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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 16 - 22  > Diet begins discussion on bill to reorganize SDF for sending them overseas
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2007 May 16 - 22 [SDF]

Diet begins discussion on bill to reorganize SDF for sending them overseas

May 17, 2007
The House of Representatives Security Committee on May 18 began discussing a bill to revise the Self-Defense Forces Law and the Defense Ministry Establishment Law.

This bill is to reorganize the SDF with the aim of establishing a setup making them capable to carry out overseas activities that were recently upgraded to the SDF’s primary duty, as well as pushing ahead with organizational integration with the U.S. forces.

The Abe Cabinet and the ruling parties intend to enact it as early as possible in order to implement the SDF realignment plan incorporated in the FY 2007 budget.

Reorganization of Ground SDF

The bill will establish in the Ground Self-Defense Force the Central Readiness Regiment that will be under the Central Readiness Group with duties to draw up plans, conduct training, and command overseas deployment of the SDF.

With about 700 personnel, this regiment will be posted at the GSDF Utsunomiya Garrison in Tochigi Prefecture and will play the role of an advance force to rapidly carry out overseas missions.

Based on the Japan-U.S. military realignment plan, the headquarters of the Central Readiness Group established at GSDF Asaka Garrison in Saitama Prefecture late March will move to U.S. Army Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture, where the U.S. First Army Corps Command is also planned to be moved despite strong opposition from local residents.

The Defense Ministry says that the SDF and U.S. commands are to be established at the same camp in order to “smoothly conduct joint responses.” Obviously, they are building a setup to carry out overseas operations.

Reorganization of Maritime SDF

The escort flotillas, which are currently assigned to five regional districts to cover specific areas, will come under the direct command of the Fleet Escort Force so that they can go anywhere in the world.

The Defense Ministry is planning to divide the escort fleet into two units, one centering on escort vessels equipped with helicopters to carry out long-term overseas activities and the other centering on Aegis destroyers to carry out missile defense missions.

The ministry admitted that with this reorganization, the escort flotillas will be able to take part in overseas activities.

In order to integrate the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF operations, a joint unit will also be established. - Akahata, May 17, 2007
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