Friday, September 30, 2016

Flight of the Three Reisen

It's incredible to think that 70 years after the end of WWII that only a handful of A6M Reisen Zero Fighter planes survived the war. Currently there are only three that can fly and of those three, only one retains it's original Sakae engine. Well thanks to the Planes of Fame Museum and the Commemorative Air Force this rare three Zero formation was able to take to the skies for us to enjoy. If you are a Zero affectionado as we are, you will enjoy this rare video where one could see Jiro Horikoshi's vision take flight. Please enjoy!

Third Times a Charm: Japan's New Reginonal Jet Reaches the United States

Earlier this week, Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet arrived in Washington State after two unsuccessful attempts. The Mitsubishi Regional Jet of MRJ arrived in Grant County International Airport after making a series of stops for refueling from its initial Nagoya starting point. The MRJ has three more long range test flights to the US planned and some potential software upgrades. It is said this plane will hold up to 80 passengers. While this plane will not be delivered until 2018, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has received 400 orders. Keep your eye out for this plane. I'm certain we'll be seeing more of it soon.

Playing With Fire? Beijing Talks Tokyo

In what seems to be the latest round in the never ending South China Seas disputes, Chinese Military Spokesman Yang Yujin made some pretty bold threats to Tokyo this week. Apparently, the PRC objects to the recently announced plans on the part of the Japanese Defense Ministry to conduct Joint Patrols with the U.S. Navy in the disputed South China Seas. Yujin alleged that Tokyo was "Playing with fire" and that his military was not going to sit by and watch idly. To what purpose do such threats serve? The International Community has already ruled against the PRC in The Hague. Not only does China's artificial island building in international waters which they now claim based on some 500 year old map has little legitimacy, it's bad for business. Let's face it, the economic boom and rising wealth among Chinese under 30 would have never occurred under the Communist Rule of Chairman Mao Tse-tung. This is only because China has embraced limited Capitalism which has made many Chinese very wealthy. To date, China now has more millionaires and billionaires than any other country combined meaning they rely on business and business happens when you use trade. That's why none of this makes any sense. Militarizing International Waters threatens commerce and trade for the entire region upsetting the delicate balance of trade between nations. It's clear that someone in Beijing feels that to take it all for themselves at the expense of others offers China some short term economic advantage but ultimately this just sets China up for more problems than they solve. It's unfortunate that their leaders have embarked on this path. I suppose the grand irony is that while the Communists love to bash Japan for it's past  military aggression of 80 years ago, it engages on some of its own. We have long said we hope such saber rattling will cease with cooler heads prevailing but the ante has been raised and some people as we have read want a confrontation that will serve no one. Until either the PRC backs down from this course of action or adheres to the international court ruling, Japan will exert its right to protect its sovereign islands and participate in internationally conducted patrols with its most important ally the United States. As we say in America, Bullshit Talks and Bullshit Walks. Let's hope nobody gets killed over this. Peace out!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

JMSDF Chief Calls for Resumption of Chinese Port Visits

Seen here is the Chinese Navy Missile Destroyer ZhenJiang on her last voyage to Japan. As everyone knows, relations have been less than friendly these past few years between Japan and the PRC largely over the disputed Senkaku Islands and the South China Seas tensions. Well most recently, JMSDF Admiral Tomohisa Takei called for the resumption of Chinese Naval Port of Calls to Japanese ports. At a time of much sabre rattling between the two Asian Powers, Admiral Takei's proposal has some merit. He believes that such exchanges of Naval Personnel by visits of warships are a healthy way to improve relations between their two competing armed forces. To date, no PRC Naval vessel has visited Japan since 2011.
In recent years Admiral Takei has criticized Beijing's artificial island building calling it “a deliberate attempt to unilaterally change the status quo and undermine existing norms.” In regards to the Senkaku Islands incursions by the PRC Navy, he has accused Beijing of attempting to invade Japanese Territory.  And so after talk, the call for the resumption of Port of Call visits to Japanese ports is rather unexpected. We at American Mishima believe Admiral Takei is correct in his assertion that such personal exchanges could reduce tensions. We would like nothing more than to see peace prevail between the two nations. While no word has been made by the Ministry of Defense or from the PRC, Admiral Takei maintains;"Our door is open." Let's hope he is right.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Japan's F-35A Rollout

In a recent lavish celebration held in Texas, American Defense Contractor Lockheed Martin and the Japanese Ministry of Defense has announced the official roll out of the first of 42 F-35A Lightning Stealth Fighter planes for Japan's Air Self Defense Force.Lockheed has partnered with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and other Japanese Contractors to tailor the new Joint Strike Fighter to Japan's specific defense needs.Initial assembly will take place at Fort Worth while final assembly will take place in Nagoya Japan. Japanese pilots will train with other pilots and maintenance personnel from Norway and Italy at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. The planes will eventually be based at Misawa which is home to the USAF's 35th Fighter Wing flying older F-16's.
All fanfare aside, it is our hope that Mitsubishi will resolve the issues plaguing this controversial 5th Generation fighter plane. While it has its stealth and vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, it's two missile and 1200 round gun limitations are cause for great concerns. It will be up to Japanese engineers to make this work. We at American Mishima wish them all the success. がんばって ください!