March 24, 2015

MHI and KHI not at Australia's Future Submarine Summit, Adelaide, March 24-26, 2015

Australia's Future Submarine Summit is being held in Adelaide, South Australia on March 24-26, 2015. There are many Australian politicians, military officers and officials due to speak as well as foreign industry representatives.  

The content carried in an article of March 22, 2015 from the Reuters Tokyo office has been reproduced in the Australia media. The Reuters article reported: “The no-show by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries [MHI] and Kawasaki Heavy Industries [KHI] at an event called Australia's Future Submarine Summit, held amid intensifying competition for the deal, exposes a potential weak link in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's more muscular security agenda: Japan Inc.”

It is significant that two retired Japanese Vice Admirals, Masao Kobayashi and Yoji Koda (details of each below) are attending the Summit and are due to speak on March 26, 2015 - both are advisers to Japan's National Security Council. Some Australian newspapers (such as the Herald Sun drawing on The Adelaide Advertiser) did mention the Japanese Admiral’s attending. 

Perhaps officers from the Japanese Consulate, Adelaide and Japanese Embassy, Australia will also attend? The presence of the retired Japanese admirals who still advise the Japanese Government clearly indicates that Japanese bilateral relationship-alliance with Australia is Japan’s main submarine sale strength. Japan's approach at present seems to rely less on commercial approaches given the absence of MHI and KHI. This is in contrast to France and Germany’s more commercial approach – though German government representatives will also be present in Adelaide.


 Vice Admiral Masao KOBAYASHI, JMSDF (Retd) photo (above) courtesy Sub Summit

Maseo is now an adviser to Japan's National Security CouncilBiodata: "Masao graduated from the Japanese Defense Academy in 1973 and commenced a career in the JMSDF submarine service. He had held many posts in the submarine force. Shore billets included Submarine Branch Head in the Ship Systems Section in the Maritime Staff Office and Operations Officer in the Fleet Submarine Force. He has commanded TAKASHIO SS-571, (Uzushio class), and has been the Commander of Submarine Division Two. In 2001/2 he was the Commander of Submarine Flotilla One, and was Coordinator of Exercise at sea for Pacific Reach 2002. Masao’s last post was as Commander of the Fleet Submarine Force. He retired from the MSDF in 2009. Vice Admiral KOBAYASHI served with distinction in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and is well regarded as an authourity in the submariner community." See Kobayashi's comments on submarines to the Japanese press - reported January 18, 2015.

Vice Admiral Yoji KODA, JMSDF (Retd) - photo (above) courtesy Sub Summit

Yoji is Maseo is also an adviser to Japan's National Security Council. Biodata: "Yoji is a graduate of the Japanese Defense Academy in 1972, the JMSDF Staff College, and the US Naval War College. As a Surface Warfare Officer, he has commanded JS SAWAYUKI (DD-125), Flotilla Three and Fleet Escort Force at sea. Yoji’s shore duties include tours as Director General (DG) for Plans and Operations, Maritime Staff and Director-General of the Joint Staff. He retired from the JMSDF as Commander in Chief, Self-Defense Fleet, in 2008. Following retirement from active duty, he was invited to join the Asia-Center, Harvard University as a research fellow researching the US-Japan Alliance and the Chinese Navy during 2009/11. Yoji is a prolific writer on maritime and strategic subjects in both Japanese and English, and his most recent articles include “A new Carrier Race [large PDF file]” and “The Russo-Japanese War” published by the US Naval War College. He contributed to “Refighting the Pacific War (an Alternative History of World War II)” published by the US Naval Institute in 2011. He is currently an advisor to National Security Agency. Vice Admiral Koda served with distinction in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and his body of academic subject matter speaks for itself."

Admiral Koda, in late March 2015, raised the possibility that most of Australia's possible Soryus might be built in Australia. However there has been little or no discernable support in the Japanese government, military, MHI or KHI for this approach.



Anonymous said...

MHI and KHI are big companies, but they are still subcontractors of Japanese Ministry of Defence (JMD) in the case of submarine building. In JMD, Techical Research and Development Institute develops weapons and commissions research support to pivate sectors, and based on these results, Equipment Procurement and Construction Office makes ship building contract with private sectors. So I think that many important intellectual properties (except Stirling AIP) belong to JMD.

Peter Coates said...

Thanks Anonymous

Like JMD's Equipment Procurement and Construction Office the US have a similar arrangement. Like the two submarine builders (KHI and MHI) the US has two Virginia SSN builders. The powerful US submarine purchasing arm with much knowledge and experience owes much to Admiral Rickover's long management.

It would probably be good for Australia if Japan-JMD owned most of the intellectual property rights - including for the diesel engines and electric motors.