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The Prime Minister in Action

Reception Celebrating the Anniversary of the Establishment of the Self-Defense Forces

October 29, 2015

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Reception Celebrating the Anniversary of the Establishment of the Self-Defense Forces for FY2015 held in Tokyo.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“Good evening everyone. I am Shinzo Abe.

Many people who support the Self-Defense Forces on a daily basis have gathered here today. We are also honored to have representatives from the U.S. Forces in Japan, our ally, as well as ambassadors and defense attachés from all over the world in attendance. Welcome to all of you and thank you for attending the reception for the Anniversary of the Establishment of the Self-Defense Forces today. As the Commander-in-Chief of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, I would like to express my profound gratitude for your ongoing support and understanding with regards to the Japan Self-Defense Forces.

The Self-Defense Forces were established on July 1, 1954. I was born in this same year, which means the Self-Defense Forces and I are the same age. We have spent roughly the same amount of time in existence, and thus I am always filled with deep emotion on the anniversary of the establishment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces.

As to why we are celebrating this anniversary today, the decision was made to push back the celebration until November 1 because many typhoons and other natural disasters strike from summer to autumn, and at the time Japan was in a very vulnerable state following World War II, when it suffered extensive damage, so all efforts were dedicated to relief operations. Ever since it was established, the people have always been the top priority of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, and they have been dispatched over 40,000 times until the present day. Every effort is for the people of Japan. This philosophy from the beginning of the Japan Self-Defense Forces has been carried on to this very day.

Since their establishment, every member of the Japan Self-Defense Forces has dedicatedly fulfilled their shared commitment to protect the peace of Japan, unafraid of rough waters, overcoming turbulence, and undaunted by getting their hands dirty. They have fulfilled their duties 24 hours a day 365 days a year, willing to take on great risk. The latest public opinion survey conducted this year indicated that 92.2% of respondents had a positive impression of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, which represents the highest results since this survey was begun. This percentage even exceeds the previous record high results from the survey conducted after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

As this indicates, the trust placed in the Japan Self-Defense Forces by the people of Japan is unwavering, and I take great pride in this fact as their Commander-in-Chief. If we turn our attention overseas, a total of some 50,000 Japan Self-Defense Forces personnel have contributed a great deal to international peace cooperation activities around the world since the end of the Cold War, including in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

Since becoming Prime Minister, I have visited 60 countries where I have conducted summit meetings. At these meetings I have received words of admiration about the Japan Self-Defense Forces from every leader, including Prime Minister Sen of Cambodia and President Aquino of the Philippines. Today, strengthening defense cooperation with Japan has become an important topic of summit meetings held with many countries.

In September of this year, Japan passed the Legislation for Peace and Security in the Diet. This will enable us to resolutely protect the lives and peaceful livelihoods of the Japanese people in any situation. This will also empower us to contribute even more to world peace and stability while working hand-in-hand with the international community, including the countries that all of you here with us tonight represent.

I am confident that the Japan Self-Defense Forces will more than live up to your expectations in the future. I also ask for the further support and cooperation of all of you in attendance tonight.

In closing, I would like to extend my best wishes to everyone in attendance and pray for the peace and stability of Japan and the world.”

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