Battleland

Japan Sends Its Troops Into Uncharted Waters

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Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman USMC

Japanese Ground Self Defense Force divers leap from a GSDF helicopter during a training exercise off the California coast last week. Troops from all three of Japan’s armed services are training with the U.S. Navy and Marines for amphibious warfare.

TOKYO – A major amphibious warfare exercise off the California coast is not intended as a dress rehearsal for combat in the Japanese islands — but it could work out that way.

For the first time, troops from all three Japanese armed services are practicing how to seize and defend remote islands, and conduct combat operations in close coordination with the U.S. Navy and Marines. It is the latest, biggest – and potentially most troubling — step in expanding the roles and missions of the Japanese Self Defense Force since China began aggressively pressing claims on Japanese administered islands in 2010.

Japan has sent three large warships and some 250 ground troops to take part in Dawn Blitz 2013, which officially kicked off this week. The exercise includes some 5,000 troops – mostly U.S. Marines and sailors, but a small number of ships and soldiers from Canada and New Zealand, as well. Seven other countries, including Australia and Singapore, have sent observers.

The exercise is part of the U.S. pivot, or re-balance, to the Asia-Pacific region. The host unit is the California-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which was activated in late 2009. It is designed to bridge the gap in size between Marine expeditionary units – which comprise about 2,200 troops – and Marine expeditionary forces, which can include as many as 50,000. All three groups are designed to deploy quickly to overseas battlefields and – being Marines — to fight their way ashore, if necessary.

Although Dawn Blitz has been held annually since 2010, this year’s exercise was re-organized in recent months to accommodate a larger and more ambitious Japanese role. Japan Ground Self Defense Force troops will practice beach landings, helicopter and small-boat raids, conduct live-fire and mock warfare exercises (against Marines), and train for a variety of other tasks related to fighting from the sea.

For the first time, Japan Ground Self Defense Force helicopters will operate from Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ship, and ground troops will call for live gunfire from ships offshore – a more dangerous and difficult task than it might appear.

In another first, Marine V-22 Ospreys will practice landings and takeoffs from the Japanese helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga, a carrier-like vessel designed for anti-submarine warfare, but adaptable for other missions, as well. For both the Japanese and Americans, learning how to function as a single team is another  goal of the exercise.

“The very first landing of an MV-22 Osprey on a Japanese ship is a historic moment,” said Brig. Gen. John Broadmeadow, the 1st MEB commander, in a statement this week.

The Japan Air Self Defense Force sent several observers and liaison officers to Dawn Blitz 2013, though not any warplanes. That’s partly because of logistical challenges, and partly because learning how to drop bombs near ground troops was seen as one task too many this time around.

(How difficult is “close-air support”? To keep from hitting their own troops, the Marines take highly-trained fighter pilots off flight duty for a year or more and assign them to ground units, for the sole purpose of calling in air strikes. It’s not clear whether Japanese fighter jocks will rush to sign up if they are asked to do the same.)

The exercise has not gone unnoticed in China, which harbors bitter memories of Japanese occupation during World War II and views any increase in defense capabilities as evidence of a return of Japanese militarism. According to the Kyodo news service, Beijing asked Japan to cancel its participation in Dawn Blitz, but was told No.

Japan likewise views with suspicion China’s growing military power and territorial ambitions. Chinese government patrol boats have sailed in or near Japanese-administered waters around the Senkaku Islands, which China calls Diaoyu, almost daily since December.

A PLA Navy warship locked its fire control radar on a Japanese destroyer in international waters near those islands earlier this year; no shots were fired, but the incident demonstrated the risks. Japanese leaders increasingly have asked how Japan, with little equipment or expertise in amphibious warfare, would respond if China were to seize one of Japan’s thousands of remote islands.

The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty obligates the United States to respond of Japanese-administered territory comes under attack, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan would take the lead in any islands crisis.

Until recently, there’s been little need for the Japanese armed services to work together, particularly in amphibious warfare. The current interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution forbids offensive operations, and the air, ground and maritime forces generally have operated alone, with strictly defensive and carefully separated responsibilities.

At least some of that will have to change if Japan wants to succeed at amphibious warfare. Soldiers will have to learn how to live aboard ships and protect their equipment from salt air; sailors must to learn to maneuver their ships in shallow water and fire at shifting targets ashore; pilots will have to sacrifice the thrill and glamour of air-to-air combat for the dirty work of flying low and slow, searching for targets on the ground.

All of that is in U.S. national interests, says Jason Wheelock, a Council on Foreign Relations-Hitachi International Affairs Fellow in Japan.

“For the first time, the Ground Self Defense Forces and the Maritime Self Defense Forces will be practicing what they call ‘joint fires,” says Wheelock, who is also a visiting fellow at the National Institute for Defense Studies in Tokyo.  “That’s a key evolution and if they can get this right, I personally would like to see Japan taking a larger role in providing and actually exporting security in the region and allowing the U.S. to maybe array its forces around Japanese forces… that would be a better use of scarce defense resources.”

And could put Japanese forces deep in uncharted waters.

77 comments
Rototime
Rototime

A necessary move.  China is by far the biggest threat to stability in the Far East because of their challenges to microscopic island properties.  We really can't understand the reasons for these skirmishes but rest assured a small encounter can lead to some horrible consequences.  Japan must defend itself.  Yes, Japan committed horrible war time atrocities in China.  There is no doubt at all.  But they still have to defend themselves.  it can't be the US.  History moves forward not backward.  It was what it was, is what it is, and will be what it will be.  Preparation is necessary.

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

JAPAN .....PUNISHED BY THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION INTITUTED BY MAC ARTHUR AFTER WW2......FORBIDS JAPAN TO WAGE WAR OUTSIDE IT'S VBORDERS.......THIS IS DUE TO THE PAST HISTORY OF JAPAN UP TO THAT TIME.......THAT GENERATION IS DEAD ........NOW......CHINA.....THE CHINESE EMPIRE IF I MAY......IS FLESING IT'S MUSCLE ON JAPAN AND THE WHOLE SOUTHEAST ASIA.....THEN THE WORLD.......

THE NEW GENERATION OF JAPANESE IS NOT THE MEN OF OLD......THAY ARE MORE WEANED ON KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN, STARBUCKS AND MACDONALDS ETC.......IT IS TIME TO SEE.......IF THE NEW SAMURAI WILL HAVE THE BALS OF THE OLD......TO PROTECT ITSELF FROM CHINA......THE CHINESE EMPIRE OF TODAY.....

OH.....I FORGOT ......NORTH KOREA TOO.....

VALENTINE, WORLD HISTORIAN, MILITARY HISTORIAN, POLITICAL HISTORAN , COMEDIAN.....LOL....

Chungchiao
Chungchiao

By the way. Japan is part of East Asia and is now a peaceful country. They will not attack anyone and are probably are pushed by Idiot American to do these exercises.

Chungchiao
Chungchiao

Idiot American, attack Syria, Iran, N. Korea and finish off destroying your eCONomy... China will be applauding your retarded warmongering fat ass decisions.

MichaelChristy
MichaelChristy

Why are we supporting Japan against China?  We are only supposed to protect them if they are attacked. The Japanese committed many atrocities against China in WW2.  We need to get back to the business of doing business.  China has a huge market for American goods; however,  the Japanese, Germany, and countless other Euro nations are selling their goods there while we are playing the chumps. You can count the number of American cars sold there on one hand while there are hundreds of thousands of KIAs, Mercedes, and etc.... 

RobertGilmore
RobertGilmore

I am surprised that they didnt lead off with the fact that 70 years ago Japanese troops on american soil wouldve meant something VERY different lol!

Tec9
Tec9

About time they shared some of the costs to defend Asia from the world's next up-and-coming Imperial China.

FreedomIsEssential
FreedomIsEssential

China is the bully here as they have already printed stamps with Vietnam's islands as Chinese territory. And soon, the  Red Communist Chinese are printing stamps with Japan as Chinese territory. 

China is taking each sovereign Asian country down one-by-one. And soon the U.S. and the world will bow down to the Communist Chinese. 

Economically, China can redeem all the bonds they've held from all of the world's central banks. And we're all are at the mercy of the Red Chinese Communists. 

don'tforget
don'tforget

Anyone thinks the fascists German and japan should be rearmed should read "WORLD WAR II' by Antony Beever 2012.

don'tforget
don'tforget

Anyone thinking Japan is our real friend should read "A PUBLIC BETRAYED; AN INSIDE LOOK AT JAPANESE MEDIA ATROCITIES AND THEIR WARNINGS TO THE WEST" by Adam Gamble and Takesato Wanatabe.

don'tforget
don'tforget

Japan's control of American press is so apparent in the behavior of the press.

When it comes to China, facts are omitted and when it comes to Japan, all the evil deeds past and present are not mentioned.

Wait until Japan gets total control of America.

BrianSmith
BrianSmith

So does this mean that the treaty from World War 2 is going to be voided?  Japan will be allowed to have an offensive military presense?

don'tforget
don'tforget

America press distort facts about China.

most products sold here are not made in China now but in South America and SE Asia.

just read the labels of your clothing and things in your houses to find out for yourself.

NAFTA which Ross Perot called "a giant vacumn  of American jobs" has been totally ignored by the press.

Hillary accused Obama because the latter accused her husband for signing the NAFTA.

don'tforget
don'tforget

Why suddenly Japan broke the consensus with China to shelf the diaoyu  issue by nationalizing Chinese Diaoyu

don'tforget
don'tforget

What did America mean "administrative rights when they gave it to Japan/

No one understanding English can interpret it as to let Japan has the islands forever.

Administrative rights have to end sometime as it does not mean ownership.

don'tforget
don'tforget

President Eisenhower's warning that America was and will be in the grip of military industrial complex is being fulfilled.

How much the military industry stands to gain from a large scale of war/

The profits earned in decades of continuous warfare cant' satisfy their greed; now they have to go for a big one

JessicaCreber
JessicaCreber

Japanese have enshrined people who murdered, raped and mutilated women and children...they deny their history...the current president said Japan did nothing wrong and questioned the term invasion...Tokyo mayor nationalized the islands which caused upset in China...the Osakan mayor's  comments on comfort women...not only insulting to the Korean and Chinese women but all women...America needs to be careful about getting itself too close to an ultra-nationalist and miltiaristic Japan...dont forget your past America!

jimmyharpoon
jimmyharpoon

The Americans think only war and never have a strategy for peace. China has destroyed manufacturing right across North America. Let's have a trade war and as a collateral effort many territorial disputes could be brought to the table.

eagle11772
eagle11772

World War II ended more than 65 years ago.  Japan and Germany have been close U.S. allies since then.  There is NO REASON that both countries SHOULD NOT HAVE robust, capable militaries with the capacity for offensive operations, AS DO U.S. allies, Great Britain, France, and others.  For TOO LONG the burden of the military defense of Japan and German has fallen on U.S. taxpayers, and U.S. military personnel.

rodwick1
rodwick1

Outstanding! Bonzi! Get sum!

wikiwanderer
wikiwanderer

In a war with China people *will* die. Would you rather they be American or Japanese?

skeets11b
skeets11b

We have conducted war games with the Japanese Self-Defense Force for many years, this is simply the first time it has taken place on US soil. It is not a big deal and considering there is a chance we could be fighting side by side with Japan at some point in the future these practice sessions are a good idea.

Eddard1
Eddard1

By the way, the international incidents in the region are all connected.What we are seeing is a new cold war develop.First, Japan’s right-leaning actions stem directly from China’s aggressive territorial expansion.To clarify, Japan does not have a military because it is prohibited by its constitution.The “Self Defense Force” is actually an extension of its police force, and conducting military operations overseas is illegal.The right in Japan claim that since every other nation has a military, Japan not having a military does not put Japan on level playing field with other nations, therefore the constitution has to be amended to allow a legal military (no other nation has outlawed its own military other than Japan).Also, since performing military operations overseas is currently illegal, it cannot even participate in mutual defense (coming to the aid militarily for its allies)

The recent events with North Korea come directly from China.North Korea can’t even breathe without China because it is completely dependent on China for its very existence.The more North Korea blows air about Nukes and attacking America gives China a bigger card to use with the US at the diplomatic table.The recent visit by Xi Jinping, China’s leader was basically bought by using this card as well as stating they are leaving the senkaku/diaoyu island alone for the time being. The reason for this visit was in response to Japan’s diplomatic actions with the surrounding countries.Japan’s Prime Minister Abe had visited the heads of state of many nations surrounding China and began creating economic agreements or cooperation about territorial disputes, including Russia, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia Burma, Myanmar, Philippines, etc. Japan basically started building an Asian “NATO” against a soviet like China.This has no teeth, however because most of these nations has no military that can compete with China.China wanted to see where the US stood with this development, as the stance of the US greatly affects the efficacy of this coalition and would dictate its foreign policy in the region.The fact that this military exercise is going on in California is basically saying the US has these countries backs.

LaneGruenwald
LaneGruenwald

Don't like this site.  Dumps random words and you can't even edit them.  Like how my half-brother thinks.

LaneGruenwald
LaneGruenwald

Tempest is Sushi Green Tea Pot.  Get a life if this offends you.  The Japanese are on their knees struggling to survive. What they did in WWII is nothing compared to what the U.S. did.  Any takers I will wrangle with.

Eddard1
Eddard1

China's history of territirial expansion in response to the US actions in the territory has to be taken into account when considering events in the region.

1973 US withdraws from Vietnam

1974 China occupies and takes over "disputed" Paracel islands from Vietnam

1991 US withdraws from Phillipines 

1992 China occupies and takes over "disputed" Spratly islands from Philippines/Vietnam etc. passes law declaring entire South China sea is their territory.   

2005 China fires on Vietnamese fishing boats killing 9, detaining 8

2009 Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama states moving US bases out of Miyagi.

2010 China crashes fishingboats near senkaku/daioyu

2011 China shoots warning shots at Philippine fishing boat

2011 China cuts survey cables X2 from Vietnam ships

2012 China declares absolute sovergnty over south asia territories, deploys UAVs in the area.

2012 US passes Resolution 524 to help out south asian nations

US has been conductiong military exercises with all the countries in the area, not just Japan. 

MichaelChristy
MichaelChristy

@Rototime And we will never understand, because the Japanese are rewriting history.  You read what the Japanese girl wrote, she and they will not own up to their history. I have respect for the German people, they took ownership of their history and never went down that path again.  

miyakawarika2011
miyakawarika2011

@MichaelChristyUSA committed a lot of crimes as well back then. Killing Native Indians, killing each other to what we now call the United States of America. USA is ALWAYS in every war battle there ever is on Earth... and you're saying that Japan committed many atrocities against China? LOL China has been invading, and slaughtering people for centuries and is still doing it even now (to Bhutan and Nepal). The Korean peninsula as well and you blame all of those "problems" in Asia done by Japan? lol.. You're just jealous of Japan right? We have good quality cars, technology, and stuff.

Either way, that so called massacre is a fake. There is NO evidence at all. Even many Northern Chinese told me that Nanking massacre never happened, but there are also many Northern Chinese who said that Japan was there during the "Nanking" massacre, but it wasn't Japanese soldiers who did the killing. There were also many Koreans in the Japanese military (since many Koreans immigrated to Japan before WW2) and they were the ones who did it (Northern Chinese, near the Korean border, could easily tell the difference between Koreans and Japanese attitude, while the central and southern Chinese couldn't tell.) However, There was a massacre thingie but it was before Japan even started modernizing, or in your words, ruling China. There were MANY foreign scientists (not just Japan), who wanted to examine the so called bodies and remains from the massacre supposedly caused by Japan. and their (China's) answer? NO. LOL if it was really true, they would want everyone to know that it really happened and would gladly show the proof. However, since it is a lie, they reject others, even USA, from studying it more. 

By the way, if Japan was so evil, how come there are many amazing stories of Japan helping others? Taiwanese were able to sleep with their front doors unlocked when Japan was occupying Taiwan, but when Red China came back since Japan lost the war, they had to lock up again and had to deal with weird people opening up shops on their driveways (A.K.A. home invaders). Indonesians were free from some other country (forgot which one) because Japan came and won their war. Turkey too, was being invaded by Soviet, but when Japan came and won the war, they were free. There was also Sugihara Chiune, who hand wrote visas for Jews (refugees) from Poland, even though Japan was on Germany's side. There's MUCH more but it's too much to write on here.


Anyway, you can believe whatever you want to believe, but right now, without Japan, USA and the rest of the world would be communist countries. Even president Roosevelt finally realized that after WW2 ended, that without Japan, everyone would not have much freedom like today (maybe technology and awesome stuff too lol). That is one reason why Japan is keeping the Senkaku islands. It's a good border to keep China from invading the world. So this is why USA needs to back up their allied country, Japan, not just for my country's sake (Japan), but also for USA and the world's sake.. well, most of the world at least. 

So be happy. If you're a communist though, then I have nothing to say. If you're not though, please stop looking at the past, blaming Japan for everything, and be happy that you have freedom, and could at least view youtube, FB, and other sites that communist countries can't really view. Oh yes, and you won't be killed by complaining to the communist party that you hate their guts. Be grateful. Good day.

MichaelChristy
MichaelChristy

@FreedomIsEssential Ever been to China?  I think your wrong, China is not the problem here. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senkaku_Islands_dispute The Senkaku Islands dispute concerns a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the Diaoyu in China,[1] and Tiaoyutai Islands in Taiwan.[2] Aside from a 1945 to 1972 period of administration by the United States, the archipelago has been controlled by Japan since 1895.[3] The People's Republic of China (PRC) disputed the proposed US handover of authority to Japan in 1971[4] and has asserted its claims to the islands since that time.[5] Taiwan (Republic of China) also claims the islands. The territory is close to key shipping lanes and rich fishing grounds, and there may be oil reserves in the area.[6]

Tec9
Tec9

@BrianSmithIt wasn't the treaty that they are amending, it's the national Constitution we wrote for them after the war had ended.

rivival37
rivival37

@don'tforget Ike made his warning at the beginning of his first term, the end of his last, and I don't know how many times in between.  Guess which President oversaw the establishment of a permanent large scale MIC during peacetime.  Ike.

PaulMiller
PaulMiller

@JessicaCreber I have just gotten off the phone with Emperor Hirohito, and he ensures me that his penis is indeed very very small, and that my penis is in fact much larger than his...

rivival37
rivival37

@eagle11772 Let's remember Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The problem with Japan and Germany having the ability to carry out offensive operations was demonstrated by USA many times, and millions are dead as a result.

rodwick1
rodwick1

@eagle11772 

Agreed. Japan is the military partner we have always wanted. Neither country has ever fought an enemy like the other.

duduong
duduong

@eagle11772 

Please don't mention Japan and Germany side by side for it is a grave insult and injustice against the Germans.

After WWII, the Germans have banned the Nazi party, prosecuted their war criminals, given up disputed territories, made large restitution, educated their young of past wrongdoings and forsake any renewed attempt at military conquests; the Japanese have done the exact opposite. The Japanese equivalent to Hitler was left in charge until his natural death. The counterpart to Goering is being worshiped in a "heroes' tomb". Japanese continue to deny all the atrocities ever happened. Their young are educated to believe that a peaceful Japan was bombed by brutal American invaders. The politicians call the forced Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese sex slaves "volunteers".

Please don't compare Japan with Germany. There is no country on earth as shameless as Japan.

skeets11b
skeets11b

What the hell are you talking about?

LaneGruenwald
LaneGruenwald

"Like a Sushi Tempest in a Green Tea Pot".  Get the Shakespearean ironical reference this time without dumping key words?  Let me hit the Enter button and find out:...

MichaelChristy
MichaelChristy

@miyakawarika2011 @MichaelChristy 

You are a nice girl, but you are in denial. Even the German SS was freaked out about Japanese actions. Own up to it and start the healing process. You are correct about America, many terrible things were done here, and abroad. I believe most Americans know, and are trying to make amends (somewhat). The wheels of justice turn slowly. I think you are overselling your technology, and I really don't think Japan could stop China from doing anything. My only point is Japan needs to settle their problem with China on their own, don't drag the US into it. In the end we are both powerless to say one way or the other. The answer is no, I am not jealous of Japan. 

bonteheuwelkhayelitsha
bonteheuwelkhayelitsha

@MichaelChristy @FreedomIsEssential Yet the USA is discovering that a COMMUNIST CHINA's goods are good to have and that all the jobs in USA they sent away to China just stregthened CHINA'S COMMUNIST (BALLOON) PARTY. How's that for the Idiot American fighting communism for 50 years and then succumbing to it? Now USA is a half-assed communist country as well.

rivival37
rivival37

@duduong @eagle11772 Well, there is that Holocaust thing.

And, MacArthur took his orders from the emperor after the war?  Tojo was in charge until the end, and he got a necktie party.

USA is more shameless than Japan, and the Russians, Chinese, French, and so on haven't exactly done a lot of apologizing themselves.  BTW, has Germany apologized for what it did in Africa?

mm83k
mm83k

Japanese translation malfunction. Like a few of these guys. Ignore.


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