Japan Doesn’t Need a Hostage Rescue Force
The executions of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa by Islamic State militants has left Japan looking for solutions to an impossible problem. While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attempted to link the crisis to his broader project of constitutional reform, he has also posited the creation of an hostage rescue... Read more
Japanese Enlistment Falls—But Not Because of Collective Self-Defense No, Tokyo’s new war policy isn’t driving away recruits On Nov. 20, the Japanese Ministry of Defense confirmed that military recruitment figures for the 2014 fiscal year had declined compared to the previous year. The number of applicants on the non-commissioned officer... Read more
Japanese Enlistment Falls—But Not Because of Collective Self-Defense
On Nov. 20, the Japanese Ministry of Defense confirmed that military recruitment figures for the 2014 fiscal year had declined compared to the previous year. The number of applicants on the non-commissioned officer fast-track fell 10 percent. The number of aviation school applicants fell five percent. Mainichi Shimbun was... Read more
Tiltrotors, Radar Planes, Spy Drones and Amphibious Vehicles—Japan Goes on a Buying Spree
On Nov. 20, Japan’s ministry of defense announced it would buy billions of dollars’ worth of American-made aircraft and vehicles, including high-tech V-22 Osprey tiltrotors and the latest RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drones. The new weapons are part of Tokyo’s evolving strategy for deterring—and potentially fighting—China’s increasingly aggressive armed... Read more
How Britain Beat Germany’s Magnetic Sea Mines
At the outbreak of World War II, the German navy and air force unleashed a hidden menace into the sea lanes that Britain relied upon for survival. They unleashed magnetic influence naval mines. Such mines were a significant development in naval area denial technology—and their introduction sparked a blitzkrieg... Read more
Japan Versus the Volcano
The major rescue operation on Mount Ontake—the 10,062-foot volcano that erupted in Japan last month—is now over. It was a quick response and an example of Japanese disaster relief work at its best. But it wasn’t easy—far from it. The troops and civilian responders had to move fast and... Read more
Here’s a Peek Inside a Chinese Submarine
For eight days in September, a Chinese Song-class attack submarine made a highly unusual port call in Sri Lanka. For one, the diesel-powered vessel had the honor of being the first Chinese submarine to dock at an Indian Ocean port. The news raised concerns across the region that China... Read more
Japan’s Defense Ministry Has Been a Godawful Mess
In January 2007, the Japanese Defense Agency formally became a cabinet-level ministry. For Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who served from 2006 to 2007 and was elected again two years ago, the change meant more than just switching the signs at the Ministry’s home in Ichigaya, Tokyo. It was a... Read more
The Tragedy of Islamic State’s Japanese Hostage
From the moment Islamic State sympathizers announced that they had taken Haruna Yukawa hostage in Syria, it was clear something strange going on. ISIS accused Yukawa of being a mercenary and a spy—and used his own words and photographs against him. Japanese magazine journalists and Internet users unraveled the... Read more
Remembering Long Tan, Australia’s Costliest Vietnam Battle
On Aug. 18, Australians remember their countrymen who served in the Vietnam War. The official name of the holiday is Vietnam Veterans Day, but many Aussies still call it “Long Tan Day” after the location of Australia’s bloodiest battle since the Korean War. On that day in 1966, 105... Read more

James Simpson

Contributor

Japan-based writer covering Japanese security news and military history.

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