Govt to Draft Tougher Measures on GSDF Vehicle Resale by Year-End

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

The government plans to disclose the results of its investigation into the alleged resale of retired Ground Self-Defense Force high-mobility vehicles by year-end, according to Defense Minister Minoru Kihara.

Kihara was responding to a question on Thursday by Alex Saito of the Democratic Party for the People at the House of Representatives’ Committee on National Security.

The minister also said the government will compile measures to prevent resale of retired GSDF vehicles based on results of the probe.

When the GSDF sells off high-mobility vehicles at the end of their 14-year service life, it requires the winning bidder to scrap them to prevent misuse, such as impersonations of an SDF member.

However, a lawmaker pointed out in the Diet in March that the vehicles may have been resold or even shipped overseas. This prompted the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency to launch an investigation in April into successful bidders and others involved with the vehicles in the last five years.

“We intend to compile the results of the investigation by the end of this year, and will draw up and disclose new measures for tighter prevention of resale,” Kihara told the Diet.

In September and October, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that retired high-mobility vehicles were shipped to Thailand and used there. “We’re conducting additional investigations based on the reports,” Kihara said. “If any irregularities are confirmed, we’ll respond strictly based on contracts as well as relevant laws and regulations.”

The Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency has requested about ¥300 million in the fiscal 2024 budget to fund investigations in Southeast Asia.

After a Yomiuri Shimbun report in September, Kihara had expressed his intention to speed up the investigation and tighten measures to prevent the resale of retired GSDF vehicles, such as by having Defense Ministry officials oversee the scrapping of retired vehicles.