Admiral Keiji Akahoshi—Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
The global economic downturn greatly affected Japan, with growing public anxiety about the economy and social security. The Democratic Party of Japan was elected on a platform focused on improving the lives of Japanese and is now beginning to implement its policies.
The government prioritized the Fiscal Year 2010 budget in accordance with these policies while at the same time reducing the costs of other programs and policies. Therefore, the defense budget became a matter of finance as much as it was security. Maintaining the current budget level has been difficult for some time. As a result, the global economic situation is having a strong affect on Japan's defense budget.
Additionally, threats to international maritime security are now more complicated than ever, and the challenges Japan faces as a maritime nation are increasing. Our nation relies heavily on the sea lines of communication (SLOC) for its survival, and it is vital for us to ensure maritime security. To accomplish this, we need to ensure the security in the sea lines and surrounding areas while maximizing limited resources. This is true not only for Japan but also for many countries dependent on maritime trade. We need to cooperate with them to ensure the freedom of the sea.
Three cornerstone principles have been identified for the way ahead to appropriately build up and operate the maritime defense capability necessary for sustaining our living and economic conditions as well as ensuring Japan's peace and security.
First, it is important to enhance the interoperability between the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the U.S. Navy in support of the Japan-U.S. alliance. The JMSDF has contributed to ensure the security of Japan as well as stability of the region. Furthermore, we need to strengthen our relationship to develop more capable and effective responses to diverse contingencies. We will accomplish this by building a maritime defense capability that complements that of the U.S. Navy and improving interoperability through joint exercises and training.
Second, we will cooperate with navies around the world. As Japan's economy is connected to the world through the sea lines of communication, it is impossible for the JMSDF to independently patrol all of those areas. In conjunction with other nations, the defense force will build a security environment in the SLOCs and surrounding areas throughout the world by enhancing friendships and conducting joint exercises and training.
Finally, we must carefully prioritize and allocate limited resources. Because of finite material and human resources, the JMSDF needs to build an efficient and effective force structure based on our current capabilities and concentrating resources. As our force size and its range of operation are limited, we must maximize the efficiency of these resources through mission analysis.
It is essential for us to ensure maritime security. The global economic downturn is significantly affecting the build-up of JMSDF's defense capability in terms of budget. To tackle this difficult situation, we sincerely hope that the JMSDF further strengthens ties with the U.S. Navy and reinforces cooperation with world navies that share common concerns. The JMSDF will contribute to ensure maritime security by further effective use of limited resources.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Click on the "Google Translate" button under the photo box and choose the language into which you would like the section translated.