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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 September 9 - 15  > SDF plans to conduct Japan-US joint military exercises for special missions before enactment of war bills
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2015 September 9 - 15 [SDF]

SDF plans to conduct Japan-US joint military exercises for special missions before enactment of war bills

September 9 & 10, 2015
The Defense Ministry and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are planning to conduct more Japan-U.S. joint military exercises for special missions at U.S. bases in Okinawa. This was revealed by Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kokuta Keiji when he recently obtained an SDF internal document.

The document indicates that the SDF will join in anti-guerilla exercises at the U.S. Marines jungle warfare training range in northern Okinawa and parachuting drills at the USMC Auxiliary airport on Okinawa’s Ie Island, in addition to the current Japan-U.S. joint landing training exercises at Camp Schwab, Camp Hansen and White Beach Naval Base.

The papers also state that the SDF will jointly conduct covert amphibious landing exercises with the U.S. forces and that to join in regular U.S. military exercises will enable the SDF to increase combat skills and hands on experience on how to use and maintain equipment such as the assault amphibious vehicle personnel model 7 (AAV7) that the Defence Ministry is considering purchasing.

The document, entitled “Regarding Japan-U.S. Dynamic Defense Cooperation”, is designated as requiring special handling. The SDF’s Joint Staff Office compiled it in July 2012. It puts emphasis on a “threat from China” and expresses an intention to make Okinawa a stronghold for the SDF and the U.S. military to stage attacks.

The document was produced in Japan under the former Democratic Party-led government. However, the recent crash caused by a U.S. Army helicopter exposed the fact that drills for joint special operations have already taken place under the current Liberal Democratic Party government led by Prime Minister Abe. It was found that two members of the Special Forces Group in the Ground SDF were on the MH-60 special operation helicopter that crashed in the sea off Okinawa’s Uruma City on August 12.

JCP member of the Ie Village Assembly Naka Minoru said, “The contents of the document describe military exercises for the SDF to fight wars abroad. The expansion of Japan-U.S. joint exercises is proceeding in tandem with the war bills.”

* * *

Akahata has learned that in the ongoing massive “Dawn Blitz” amphibious exercise being conducted by the U.S. military in California, SDF logistics units are participating for the first time. The SDF sent about 1,100 members from the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF to participate in the war games.

Regarding the exercise, the Japanese side announced that the exercise is for defending a remote island. However, the U.S. side characterizes the drill as a multinational military exercise for coping with global crises. It also assumes SDF participation in the U.S-led “coalition of the willing” when conducting air-strikes.

Past related articles:
> Okinawa municipalities and fishermen angry over US helicopter crash [August 19 & 20, 2015]
> MOD admits it prepared for enactment of war bills which are still under Diet discussion [August 18, 2015]
> MOD already plans to reorganize SDF units in line with war bills [August 12, 2015]
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