national

SDF conduct live fire drills near Mt Fuji

17 Comments

Japan's Self Defense Forces on Thursday began four days of live-fire drills at training grounds in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture.

The annual exercise, held since 1961, comes as the government moves to expand the role of the military and boost the defense budget.

Held against the backdrop of Mt Fuji, about 2,400 soldiers took part in the exercise with about 80 tanks and armoured vehicles as well as 60 field guns and 20 helicopters.

A wide array of aircraft, artillery, tanks and helicopters fired on targets. Ground personnel fired artillery, with helicopters flying overhead.

The exercises are the biggest event staged by the Self-Defense Forces each year. On Sunday, members of the public will be invited to watch the drills. Organizers said they had received more than 150,000 applications.

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Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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17 Comments
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I hear JSDF's stocks of ammunition and fuel is very small and when they do exercises, they always have to think about the remainder of their ammunition and fuel. Some even say they only have three days of reserves.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

 On Sunday, members of the public will be invited to watch the drills. Organizers said they had received more than 150,000 applications.

I can not imagine the manpower and money being wasted to go through 150,000 applications to watch an event that is funded by taxpayers money.

Just how many people are going to get "invited"?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I hope soon this will include landings of troops with JGSDF MV-22s so some people will get used to seeing Ospreys in action.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Yubaru: I've been several times (I was literally the only foreigner there), just gotta know someone in the SDF and the invite is easy.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Awww, cute.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

A live-fire exercise open to (some members of) the public is a disgraceful apparition for any respectable armed force.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Instead of this waste of money, wouldn't it have been better to send them to the disaster struck zones to help out?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Instead of this waste of money, wouldn't it have been better to send them to the disaster struck zones to help out?

There are many upon many helping out in disaster struck zones. If you saw it, you would be the same complaining about there being too much manpower there.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

We are capable so we don’t need USA occupation

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

This is just one of many other ways a military, in this case the Japanese defense forces, ensures its preparedness. They do go out and help disaster stricken areas and we appreciate that but if you think they should just do that and not other, like this annual live fire drill, is probably naive. Re public participation, that’s fine to me. All about public awareness of the need to be protected and danger of war, which everyone tries to avoid. As the number of applications is larger than what they can accommodate, what we do is to fill out a postcard and send it to the organizer and participants will be drawn randomly. Am not sure about connections with someone in the inner circle would help but... probably true.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Amazing photo! I am so jealous of the lucky people who won lottery to watch. Perhaps next year I apply with my family. Message to world: don't mess with Japan Military!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Looks like hanabi!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Looks like hanabi!

essentially the same effect too given they have never been tested in combat!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Yubaru,

I've also been to this - invited with colleagues by a guy in the SDF. I am very much a peacenik, who would rather see more defense budget directed toward defending us from mother nature than from other humans, but admit I enjoyed the drills, just as I've enjoyed the airshows I've seen in Canada.

I was thinking, there must be use-by dates on artillery. Can anyone here confirm that either way? So, use up the older stock of shells, practice riding motorcycles out of helicopters, etc. all in one. Probably not that big an expense overall, in the big picture. Small drop in a very large bucket and it is practice.

Also anyone who thinks the SDF forces haven't been out, en masse, busting their asses in the terrible heat of this summer to search for, rescue, recover, and support victims of the numerous disasters has not be paying attention. Those guys are heroes. They deserve better than your snark.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 I've been several times (I was literally the only foreigner there), just gotta know someone in the SDF and the invite is easy.

Ok, you along with 150,000 others? If it's that easy, then why the need for the invite or application in the first place?

Can 150,000 people get in to watch?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yubaru: I didn't even know there was a lottery, there was around 500 - 1000 people perhaps.... I was just asked every year if I wanted to go and said ok. Got the tickets. I think some tickets are reserved for family and friends.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can not imagine the manpower and money being wasted to go through 150,000 applications to watch an event that is funded by taxpayers money.

Most of those 150.000 watchers will be tax payers as well ..ne?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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