SDF Conducted 27 Guarding Missions for Foreign Militaries in 2023; 2nd-Highest Figure since 2017

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Defense Ministry buildings in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

The Defense Ministry said on Monday that in 2023 the Self-Defense Forces conducted 27 cases of guarding foreign militaries that are operating in cooperation with the SDF.

It is the second-highest figure, following 31 cases in 2022, since the start of the protection of weapons and other equipment belonging to units from foreign countries in 2017.

Of the 27 cases, 22 were protection missions for the U.S. military. Of those 22, 13 cases involved the protection of vessels during joint training, five were for aircraft protection and four involved protecting vessels during intelligence and surveillance activities, including ballistic missile alerts.

The remaining five cases were for the Australian military, comprising four cases of vessel protection during joint training and 1 case of aircraft protection.