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U.S., private sector aircraft eyed to assist SDF forces

Date Posted: 2011-08-12

Japanís Defense Ministry is studying concepts of using U.S. military and private-sector aircraft in its defense of remote islands.

The government is eyeing a proposal introduced by Senior Vice Defense Minister Katsuya Ogawa and his senior committee aides to get outside help in defending the Nansei Islands, which stretch from Okinawa northward to Kagoshima. Implementing the National Defense Program Guidelines draws upon both private-sector transport planes and U.S. forces to help the Self Defense Forces.

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa is reviewing the plan, which stipulates a more dynamic defense force capable of defending remote island and providing first-stage responses to circumstances and situations such as United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, ballistic missile launches, cyber-attacks and special assault force operations. It also would provide a rapid response to unpredictable events, which could include major natural disasters such as last Marchís earthquake and tsunami.

The proposal would draw upon private-sector resources, as well as aid from nearby U.S. military forces, in defending outlying areas, as well as Tokyo and key urban areas. It identifies requirements for transporting large numbers of Self Defense Forces ďprior to enemy attack to thwart invasion.Ē The vice defense ministerís plan recognizes that reaction forces would require large numbers of personnel and equipment and weapons that would require rapid transit, and notes that given Japanís current finances, it would be difficult to expand the SDF transportation capabilities.

The proposal also notes a requirement for new legislation that would permit private-sector ships to carry ammunition and personnel to hot spots. Current laws make ammunition transports on Japanese civilian aircraft illegal.

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