By YUSUKE FUKUI/ Staff WriterFor all the fear and trembling in Asia over the "rise of Japan" they're still taking baby steps toward militarization.
The Self-Defense Forces on Dec. 17 revealed its new armored vehicle equipped with a roof-mounted machine gun that will be used to evacuate Japanese civilians in a foreign nation in conflict.
Japan’s “transport protection vehicle” was put through the paces in an SDF drill at the Somagahara Maneuver Area that straddles Takasaki and Shinto in central Gunma Prefecture.
A V-shaped hull makes the 10-seat vehicle highly resistant to bombs and other munitions used by insurgents.
It is the SDF’s version of the Australian Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle. Australian forces used the vehicle in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Four were deployed this year to the Ground SDF’s Central Readiness Regiment stationed in Utsunomiya. The regiment acts as an advance team for the SDF.
The drill simulated the rescue of Japanese civilians gathered at the Japanese embassy in a nation undergoing turmoil after a change in political leadership.
Fifteen SDF members acting as civilians were led into the armored vehicles under simulated conditions of being surrounded by an angry mob or attacked with a bomb as they headed to an airport.
Although recently enacted national security legislation eases restrictions on the use of arms in overseas rescue missions of Japanese civilians, the SDF decided not to use the machine gun during the drill.
The idea that they wouldn't mount machine guns for an exercise and for it to be highlighted in an article tells me they're far from being the monsters that some make them out to be.
Side Note. I wonder if they bought them or got a manufacturing license?