International Peace Cooperation Activities Training Unit

Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces soldiers practice being in a UN peacekeeping op; via https://commons.wikimedia.org/ released under Government of Japan Standard Terms of Use (Ver.2.0).

The International Peace Cooperation Activities Training Unit (IPCATng), or the 国際活動教育隊 (Kokusai Katsudō Kyōiku Tai), was established on March 28, 2007 in the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces. It serves as the JGSDF’s military training unit for JGSDF soldiers who are going to be deployed overseas in peacekeeping operations.

The IPCATng is under the command of the Ground Component Command. The unit currently has 80 soldiers serving under it, mostly as training instructors [source]. It is based in Camp Komakado in Gotemba, Shizuoka [source].

It is currently being commanded by Colonel Hiroyuki Yokoyama as of January 2022 [source].

History

The International Peace Cooperation Activities Training Unit was established at Camp Komakado as their headquarters. A ceremony was conducted on September 19, 2008, to inaugurate the unit’s training program [source]. Colonel Masakazu Karube was the unit’s first commanding officer. It was announced that the IPCATng aims to have around 240 participants graduate annually [source].

In 2019, the unit was under the command of the GCC [source] from the Central Readiness Force as the latter was disbanded on March 26, 2018 [source].

Formation

The IPCATng consists of a headquarters under the control of a Command Sergeant Major [source].

Below are the Education, Evaluation and Research Divisions with the Education and Training Support Platoon [source].

Training Process

International Peace Cooperation Activities
A JGSDF soldier conducts a lecture in English; via https://commons.wikimedia.org released under Government of Japan Standard Terms of Use (Ver.2.0).

JSDF personnel participating under IPCATng training lasts for one month with graduates going to serve overseas in peacekeeping operations [source]. It is not limited to Japanese military personnel. For instance, US Marines have participated in IPCATng courses since February 2020 [source].

After a training scenario is completed, all participants must attend a review session [source].

The International Peace Cooperation Activities Seminar (IPCAS) is held once a year where the JSDF collaborates with various research organizations, NGOs and government offices in discussing civil-military affairs in the areas of conflict and post-conflict [source].

Experienced lecturers from NGOs and universities are invited by the unit to give talks to JSDF personnel participating in classes [source].

The unit also assists the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in peacebuilding development by providing training for MOFA staff since 2008 if and when they’re expected to work overseas [source]. Peacekeeping capacity building is also provided to friendly countries when asked [source].

Future

Japan will continue to rely on the IPCATng to educate JSDF personnel deployed to serve in overseas peacekeeping operations. With Article 9 now being reinterpreted that would allow the JSDF to be deployed overseas, there’s a need for military training that’s tailored for overseas operations.

Because the JSDF is not always deployed overseas, the unit needs to keep up on educating its force with experienced officers and enlisted personnel. This personnel would have overseas experience and worked with foreign troops and NGOs.

Colonel Karube explained that the unit is an “important point is to verify whether the training now being conducted can really be useful in theatres of activity overseas and to develop unified know-how for personnel education.” [source]

Mark Christian Soo
Mark Christian Soo
Mark is a undergraduate in Political Science from Simon Fraser University. His research interests focus on Japanese, East and Southeast Asian defense/foreign affairs policy.

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