Japan activates amphibious brigade for island retaking

Japan officially activated the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) under Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) on Saturday, April 7. The ARDB is described by the international press as Japan’s first Marine unit since World War II.

US Navy photo

“The US Navy looks forward to working with our great friends from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) to hone and advance the ARDB’s capabilities to operate from the sea,” United States Navy Amphibious Force 7th Fleet commander Rear Admiral Brad Cooper said.

The establishment of ARDB is part of a large-scale reorganization in the JGSDF based on National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said during the March 27 press conference that the ARDB will be established with a strength of around 2,100 personnel.

“In the event of an invasion of a remote island, its task will be promptly landing on the island and regaining and securing it, so it is equipped with the amphibious operation function necessary for such activity,” Onodera said.

“The brigade will continuously conduct training using equipment which will be introduced from now on, including the AAV7 amphibious vehicle and the V-22 Osprey, in order to further strengthen the amphibious operation function,” Onodera added.

Also part of JGSDF reorganization is the establishment of Ground Component Command.

“The establishment of the Ground Component Command is a move made in light of the need for the GSDF to develop a system to enable centralized operation of its units across the country at a time when we are increasingly assuming various situations requiring prompt response to be made at the national level through the joint operation of the GSDF, MSDF (maritime) and ASDF (Air), such as a ballistic missile attack, an attack on remote islands and a large-scale disaster,” Onodera said.

Sources: https://www.facebook.com/Amphib7thFleet/photos/a.414896401340.217651.93104046340/10156165020761341/; http://www.mod.go.jp/e/press/conference/2018/03/27.html