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    U.S. Forces Japan:

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    Post  max steel on Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:08 pm

    Japan Faces Challenging Choices for Cash-Strapped Air Force Suspect


    Critics have raised concerns that Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) could find itself with only a modest number of fifth-generation aircraft backed by obsolescing fourth-generation planes, based around the F-2 and F-15s, that lack interoperability.

    For example, at present funding levels, the ASDF can only procure 42 F-35s at a rate of a handful a year, meanwhile diverting scarce resources to update its legacy fleet. This year, the ASDF can only afford to buy six F-35s while upgrading 11 F-2s with modern digital communications systems.

    The recent ballyhooed unveiling of the putative fifth-generation X-2 Shinshin stealth fighter demonstrator and the future availability of the short takeoff/vertical landing F-35B on Japan’s carrier-convertible DDH Izumo-class helicopter carrier seem to offer the ASDF some pathways to building a more effective force. But do they?

    Richard Aboulafia, vice president, analysis, at the Teal Group suggested that given budget constraints, costs and the dead-end nature of the costly F-2 program, ASDF’s most likely scenario will be some additional F-35s and more F-15 upgrades. Japan might even consider buying more up-to-date F-15s, but given the funding priority of the first 42 F-35s, cash for more F-15s is unlikely to be provided, he said.

    “One thing's certain: The F-15 fleet will be the most important JASDF component for decades to come. In terms of range and payload the F-15s are hugely important, and upgrading them will be a very high priority. They're synergistic with the F-35s. Upgrading the F-2 fleet is somewhat tertiary in terms of priorities,” Aboulafia said.

    “Japan has made a significant investment in F-35, as they should have. But they can’t afford to have substantially more F-35s delivered any sooner … and … the F-2s are important only in keeping the Japanese defense industrial base relatively proficient in basic design and manufacturing,” said Steven Ganyard, president, Avascent International.

    Ganyard also suggested an F-15 upgrade strategy was the most logical scenario, since the ASDF’s F-15s have substantial life left but desperately need to be upgraded.

    “The threat to Japan is not Chinese fighters. It’s thousands of cruise and ballistic missiles that could easily cut off all Japan south of Kyushu. This most important reason to have both F-35s and upgraded F-15s with AESA radars is the cruise missile threat of low flying, low [radar cross section] missile salvos that could quickly become overwhelming. This also points out the importance of a 'raid breaker' capability along the Nansei Shoto, perhaps mobile rail guns,” Ganyard said.

    In this light, a joint upgrade program between Japan and the US would share development costs, reduce risk and increase interoperability. The result would be the kind of air force that the US, Israel, Australia and Singapore will have, a mix of aircraft and integrated operations with both fifth-generation and 4+ generation fighters, Ganyard said.

    The deeper problem, analysts agree, is that Japan needs to pull back from funding aircraft that are not internationally competitive, such as the F-2, the C-2 and the P-1, and refocus its strategy and R&D resources on a few world class products and buy what it isn't able to build.

    This makes the Shinshin look increasingly like a redundant bauble, analysts said.

    “Could Shinshin be developed as a poor man’s stealth fighter that, say, Europe and/or the US might be interested in co-developing and India, Australia, et al might be interested in buying? That would certainly cut unit costs. I have no idea what the upside for Shinshin is, though,” said Jun Okumura, visiting scholar at the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs, and a former official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which supports domestic weapons platform development.

    Spending on Shinshin would take billions of dollars away from force enhancement and replacement and put it toward development of an unknown airframe, said Aboulafia.

    “It would represent the triumph of national technology development and prestige over actual military needs, unless they had some kind of higher goal, such as an export-oriented plane,” he said.
    “Japan should not develop a poor man’s anything. It wastes money and only makes the country more vulnerable,” Ganyard said.

    Speculation bubbled up a few years back that Japan might consider acquiring the F-35B when it was revealed, for example, that the DDH Izumo-class helicopter destroyers come equipped with F-35B compatible elevators.

    “The F35B is a luxury item that I can’t see the ASDF going for. Aircraft carriers are slow and vulnerable and need lots of support. So, unless you really want to project your naval power to the South China Sea and beyond, or the Japan-US alliance breaks down, I would forget about it," Okumura said.

    Aboulafia agreed, saying that fixed-wing carrier aviation sounds appealing from a force projection and regional presence standpoint, but that it was basically unaffordable for Japan.

    “As it is, the ratio of resources to intentions is way too high; standing up a carrier strike force would make the problem much worse. If Japan adds billions of dollars to the defense budget that's one thing … those 17 V-22s are barely affordable as it is,” Aboulafia said.

    But Ganyard said one reason there has been a shift in thinking away from the F-35B is the opportunity that the US Navy’s Ford-class carrier presents with electro-magnetic aircraft launch systems (EMALS).

    “Without much challenge Japan’s current DDH could be fitted with EMALS and its associated arresting gear. Add an angled deck, a bit more length and displacement, and the JMSDF is back in the fixed-wing aviation business," Ganyard said.

    “While it might take some very senior level direction to carry out such a radical shift, of all the countries in the world, Japan would strategically benefit the most from a return to carrier aviation,” Ganyard said.
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    U.S. Forces Japan: - Page 2 Empty US Sailor Indicted in Okinawa Rape Case

    Post  max steel on Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:37 pm

    US Sailor Indicted in Okinawa Rape Case

    A US sailor was indicted in Japan on Friday for allegedly raping a Japanese woman on Okinawa, according to reports, in a case that could further increase tensions over the American military presence on the fortified island.

    Okinawa was the site of a brutal World War II battle between Japan and the United States but is now considered a strategic linchpin supporting the two countries' decades-long security alliance.

    More than half of the 47,000 American military personnel in Japan are stationed there and rapes and other crimes by US service personnel have sparked local protests in the past.

    The Naha district public prosecutors office on the island charged Justin Castellanos, 24, stationed at the US Marine Corps Camp Schwab base on the island, with the alleged crime, Jiji Press and other media reported.

    Castellanos was arrested last month for allegedly raping a Japanese tourist while she was unconscious at a hotel in the Okinawan capital city of Naha, police said.

    A prosecution office spokesman declined to confirm the indictment by phone to AFP, while confirmation from the US Navy in Japan was not immediately available.

    A brutal 1995 abduction and rape of a 12-year-old girl on Okinawa by three US servicemen sparked massive protests, prompting Washington to pledge efforts to strengthen troop discipline to prevent such crimes and reduce its footprint on the island.

    But continued crimes by US personnel remain an irritant in Japan-US relations and a rallying point for Okinawans and others in Japan opposed to the bases on the crowded island, where pacifist sentiment runs high.

    Okinawa makes up less than one percent of Japan's total land area but is home to about 75 percent of US military bases in the country.

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    Post  max steel on Fri May 27, 2016 10:37 pm

    US Military Personnel Arrested in Okinawa—Again


    On May 19, a former U.S. Marine who works as a civilian employee at a U.S. base in Okinawa was arrested by Okinawa Prefectural Police. He was charged with the murder and desertion of the remains of Rina Shimabukuro, a 20-year old woman in Okinawa.

    Following the incident, a predictable sequence of the events unfolded. The commanding general of U.S. Forces in Okinawa and the U.S. consul general apologized to Okinawan Governor Takeshi Onaga. Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani summoned U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and officially protested the crime that was committed. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke of the intention of his government to strongly request the U.S. government to take appropriate measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. Understandably, there has been a surge in protests in Okinawa, demanding all U.S. bases be closed.

    There is no question that what happened is tragic and the crime that has been committed was malicious. It has been reported that the suspect confessed that he had been driving around with a purpose of sexually assaulting a woman. Worse yet, he allegedly murdered her and deserted her body. From all accounts, it was an inexcusable, despicable act.

    That said, it is disheartening to see a simplistic, predictable blame-game unfolding between two groups. On the one hand, there are those who take every incident and crime—no matter how serious or minor—as the proof of absolute negative effects of hosting U.S. bases in Japan. On the other hand, there are those who simply push the geostrategic logic of why U.S. forward-stations its bases, personnel, and their families in Japan, the overwhelming part of which is concentrated in Okinawa. Grounded in completely different perspectives with so little room to compromise, these two groups are unable to have constructive dialogue.

    Reportedly, some government officials are said to have lamented that this arrest was “bad timing,” referring to the fact that it came shortly before President Barack Obama arrives in Japan. It was also reported that the Japanese government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) are concerned about the backlash that this arrest might cause to the upcoming Upper House election in July. This is an example that demonstrates the disconnect between the two group in its worst form—while such concerns are justified at the policy making level, it is an extremely poor initial reaction by the government that lacks compassion for the public’s concerns. Such a response only aggravates the anger of the victim’s families, the victims of similar crimes in the past, and the community that hosts U.S. bases.

    The difficult and inconvenient reality is that hosting U.S. forward-deployed forces has always brought both positives and negatives in Japan. On the positive side, almost all of those who are stationed in Japan develop a lifelong affinity toward the country. Their experiences in Japan are often enriched by the friendships they nurture with the Japanese they come into contact with, either through work and/or in the community live in.

    At the same time, the U.S. troop presence in Japan inevitably has a negative side. Crimes committed by U.S. service members and other U.S. employees top the list of such negatives, followed by other misbehaviours and noise pollution as well as other inconveniences from the training and operation of U.S. forces. What is challenging about the crimes committed by U.S. service memembers stationed in Japan is that it is simply impossible to eliminate them. There will always be those stationed in Japan who will misbehave. The best that can be done by the authorities is to ensure that those U.S. military personnel that misbehave or worse, commit crimes, will be promptly arrested and held accountable.

    Indeed, particularly since the 1995 rape of a school girl in Okinawa, the U.S. and Japanese governments have worked hard to improve mechanisms to minimize the negative impact of U.S. bases. Moreover, the United States has repeatedly demonstrated that its defense establishment has taken concerns expressed by the Japanese local community seriously. In response to this most recent crime, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has told his Japanese counterpart that the U.S. government hopes that “the perpetrator of this crime will be held accountable under the Japanese legal system,” suggesting that Washington will not request extradition of the suspect to the United States. While this suspect is not an active U.S. servicemember and therefore is not covered by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) provisions between the United States and Japan, Carter’s statement still sends an important signal to those stationed in Japan of the potential consequence of their gross misbehaviour.

    Geostrategically, the U.S. forward military presence in Japan continues to serve as the anchor for U.S. power projection in the Asia-Pacific region, providing the bedrock of stability in the regional security environment. With the security concerns in the region, such as North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship and China’s assertive behaviour in maritime Asia, showing no sign of going away, the demand for the U.S. military’s continuous engagement in this region will only grow in the coming years. In such an environment, the strategic importance of U.S. forces in Japan is likely to increase, rather than diminish.

    The recent arrest in Japan is yet another example of the complex challenges that the U.S. and Japan need to continue to address so that the U.S. force presence in Japan, whatever form it ultimately takes, will be both operationally effective as well as politically sustainable.
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    Post  max steel on Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:39 am

    State Dept OKs $821M SM-2 Block IIIB Missile & Launch Canister Sale to Japan

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    Post  George1 on Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:21 pm

    The first overseas deployment of the F-35 fighter jets

    U.S. Forces Japan: - Page 2 31573872523_406f3a62ec_b

    U.S. Forces Japan: - Page 2 32384823645_cba1922ee1_b

    U.S. Forces Japan: - Page 2 31573868333_0626f71a35_b

    http://bmpd.livejournal.com/2382316.html
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    Post  HUNTER VZLA on Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:24 pm

    JASDF F-15 with USAF B-1

    U.S. Forces Japan: - Page 2 JASDF%2BF-15s%2Bwith%2BUSAF%2BB-1s%2B1

    U.S. Forces Japan: - Page 2 JASDF%2BF-15s%2Bwith%2BUSAF%2BB-1s%2B3

    U.S. Forces Japan: - Page 2 JASDF%2BF-15s%2Bwith%2BUSAF%2BB-1s%2B4

    U.S. Forces Japan: - Page 2 JASDF%2BF-15s%2Bwith%2BUSAF%2BB-1s%2B%2B2


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    Post  George1 on Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:18 am

    US F-15 fighter jet crashes near Japan’s Okinawa — Kyodo

    More:
    http://tass.com/defense/1009074
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    Post  Rodion_Romanovic on Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:41 pm

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/06/asia/japan-us-military-base-island-intl-hnk/index.html

    Japanese island could become an unsinkable US aircraft carrier

    By Brad Lendon and Michelle Lim, CNN
    Updated 2347 GMT (0747 HKT) December 6, 2019



    Hong Kong (CNN)Three square miles of volcanic rock on the edge of the East China Sea may one day be used as an unsinkable aircraft carrier for the United States Navy in the event of war in Asia.

    Japan's government announced this week that it's buying Mageshima Island, an uninhabited outcrop 21 miles (34 kilometers) from the southernmost Japanese main island of Kyushu.

    The island, most of which is owned by a privately held Tokyo development company, is uninhabited and hosts two intersecting unpaved runways that were abandoned under a previous development project.


    The Japanese government said the runways will be paved and used for US Navy and Marine Corps planes to simulate aircraft carrier landings, though it did not give a time frame in which that could be accomplished as the deal still needs to be finalized.

    But once suitable facilities are constructed, the island could also become a permanent base for Japan's Self Defense Forces as Tokyo looks to strengthen its position along the East China Sea, where it faces competing claims from China over the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyu islands in Chinese.

    The "purchase of Mageshima Island is extremely important and serves for strengthening deterrence by the Japan-US alliance as well as Japan's defense capability," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in announcing the deal.

    US military officials in Japan said they could not comment on the purchase.

    Buying Mageshima has been the subject of talks for years. Tasuton Airport, the company that owns most of the island, finally reached agreement with the government in late November.

    The island was identified as a suitable site for use by the US as a permanent base for field carrier landing practice under a 2011 agreement outlining the realignment of US forces in Japan.

    The $146 million deal also comes as the US military is hearing calls to increase the number of its strategic bases in East Asia in the face of a growing Chinese missile arsenal.

    The majority of US combat air forces in Japan are concentrated in just six bases.

    Recent studies, including one from the United States Study Center at the University of Sydney published in August, say with their current resources the US forces would be vulnerable to Chinese missile strikes early in any conflict.

    One way to mitigate that is to spread US troops and assets out among more bases.



    US military aircraft conduct an "elephant walk" exercise at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa in 2017. Experts fear US forces in Japan are concentrated on too few bases.

    "Over time, the diversification of Japanese and American bases (individual or joint) will be a trend," said Corey Wallace, an Asia security analyst at Freie University in Berlin. "The alliance would be more resilient if bases and hardware were more dispersed."

    The theory goes, the more bases you have, the more missiles an adversary would need to fire to overwhelm its target and gain an advantage in a combat scenario.

    Permanent land bases are considered more valuable than aircraft carriers, because they can withstand a great number of munitions. In theory, a carrier can be taken out with a single missile or torpedo.

    Battle damage to land bases can also be repaired much more quickly than a complex war machine like an aircraft carrier.

    "When you target and sink an aircraft carrier it is irreversible," said Collin Koh, research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

    As for an island? "At the very least it doesn't sink.... You can take the time and effort to bring it back to operation again," Koh said.


    The new base is also a good sign for US-Japan defense cooperation, which has seen strains in recent years on two fronts: Localities have put pressure on the Japanese government to move US military activity away from population centers; and US President Donald Trump has pushed allies like Japan to take some financial load off US taxpayers.


    On the former point, Wallace says Mageshima could eventually see operations from US Marine Corps Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, taking some of the load off current airfields on the main islands and Okinawa.

    Just last February, Okinawa residents, in a non-binding referendum, voted overwhelmingly that the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station be relocated off the island.

    That vote came after incidents of parts falling off US aircraft and landing outside the base, including near schools and numerous flashpoints involving US defense personnel and local residents.

    Despite that vote, the Japanese government moved ahead with plans to relocate Futenma operations elsewhere on Okinawa.

    Similarly, the government could be expected to push back against any challenges to the Mageshima plan from the nearest island of Tageshima, 8.5 miles (14 kilometers) to its east and from where it is administered.


    In the larger international picture, Japan is making the right move to keep its most important ally -- the United States -- happy, said Koh, the Singapore analyst.

    "Trump is asking Japan to pay more. This purchase of the island is a move that is part of the whole plan to demonstrate that Japan is willing to shoulder more burden," Koh said.

    And despite the island's proximity to Tageshima, no one actually lives on it, allowing "the (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe government to try to balance between its obligation towards the alliance as well as to its domestic constituents," he said.



    As a practice field, Mageshima will also be more convenient for US carrier pilots, many of which now fly out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on the Japanese main island of Honshu.

    The fliers now practice carrier landings -- known as "touch and go" landings -- on Iwo Jima, also known as Iwo To, almost 850 miles (1,360 kilometers) away. Flying to Mageshima would cut the journey by 600 miles (960 kilometers).


    Down the line, Wallace says Mageshima could provide for some new cooperation between the US and Japanese militaries -- specifically involving F-35 stealth fighters.

    Japan has announced it will be upgrading its Izumo-class helicopter destroyers to handle US-made F-35B jets, fighters that now fly off American amphibious assault ships, essentially small aircraft carriers. It's also purchasing dozens of the short-takeoff, vertical landing jets.


    "Japan does not have pilots with any experience landing fixed-wing aircraft on carriers. However, this new facility might offer the opportunity over time for Japanese to gain some familiarity with such operations alongside the US -- not only to utilize their own carriers, but for cross decking (sharing) with the United States," Wallace said.

    "Having Japanese F-35s on American naval vessels would be quite a signal," he said.

    CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki contributed to this report.

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