Following the release of the findings of investigations [into an accident in which GSDF members shot live rounds by mistake in an exercise], Kiyofumi Iwata, chief of staff of the Ground Self-Defense Force, said at a press conference on June 20 that “We will change SDF personnel’s awareness of how to manage and use weapons and ammunition.”
According to the findings, excessive concern about losing ammunition make SDF personnel concentrate more on counting the number of shots than distinguishing live rounds from blanks. “We don’t require [SDF members] to retrieve 100% of the rounds and collecting all of them is virtually impossible,” said Iwata. “We need to start thinking about how to retrieve rounds,” he said while hinting at the possibility of easing retrieval requirements.
On June 20, the Ministry of Defense set up an investigation committee to prevent such incidents from recurring and look into how ammunition and weapons are managed and used at the three SDF units. The committee is chaired by State Minister for Defense Kenji Wakamiya. The Inspector General’s Office of Legal Compliance will also conduct a special inspection.