12 May 15. DSEI to host conference on lessons learned from Ebola response. Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI), the world’s largest land, sea and air defence and security exhibition, will be hosting a conference on the lessons learned from the recent Ebola epidemic, which claimed an estimated 15,000* lives in 2014. The conference ‘Ebola Learning Exploitation’ will take place at ExCeL London on Tuesday 15 September 2015, with the keynote speech being given by Dr Jennifer Cole, Senior Research Fellow from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Dr Cole will review the reasons behind the outbreak, with subsequent presentations evaluating the nature and effectiveness of the approaches that were adopted to tackle the crisis. Contingency planning for future unpredictable events of this type will also be discussed. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) contribution to the humanitarian effort included deployment of the support ship RFA Argus, Merlin helicopters and military personnel under Operation Gritlock. The MOD will have a major presence at DSEI 2015, which is being staged at ExCel London from 15 – 18 September.
DSEI Event Director, Duncan Reid, said, “The humanitarian dimension of defence and security capability has become increasingly prominent at DSEI, highlighted by the launch at the last DSEI in 2013 of the Medical Innovation Zone. A particularly interesting feature of the Zone is the crossover of medical technologies from the military to the civil sector”.
14 May 15. Japan arms fair confirms country’s status as weapons exporter. The three-day Maritime Systems and Technology arms fair being staged in Yokohama is Japan’s first military trade show since the second world war and comes as defence budgets and tensions rise across the region. The event represented a moment in Japanese history “dreaded by some, but welcomed by others”, one participant noted. Since coming to power in 2012, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s nationalist prime minister, has pushed relentlessly to expand both the role and capabilities of the country’s Self Defence Force. As well as offering greater opportunities for international companies to sell arms to Japan, Mr Abe has engineered rule changes that reduce historical limitations on weapons exports in place since 1945. As the multinational crowds of arms salesmen and uniformed military personnel gathered in Yokohama on Thursday, the Japanese cabinet approved draft legislation that would bolster the military and permit Japan to fight abroad for the first time since the end of the second world war. Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Mr Abe said the changes would enhance deterrence and “decrease the risk of war”. The move — and Japan’s decision to host a fair where the focus is on maritime defence — come against a background of a more assertive China, whose $100bn defence budget and territorial claims in the East and South China Seas have rattled neighbouring countries. Nonetheless, the new laws are unpopular in Japan — a recent poll for JNN showed only 36 per cent of the public in favour — and in Yokohama, Japanese delegates better known for consumer electronics and civilian vehicles, including Hitachi, NEC and Mitsubishi, appeared awkward in their role as the public face of military hardware sales. Some sought to soften the blow with displays mixing images of their “security and safety solutions” with pictures of sleeping children and toy animals. Others were at pains to play down the prospects for significant military exports over the next half decade. The decades-long embargo has forced Japanese manufacturers to produce their military hardware in isolation and with the tough economics of having their own military as sole customer. Takayuki Saito, a senior manager at Japan Marine United, which produces cruise ships, oil tankers and Aegis destroyers, said that at this stage, the purpose of exhibiting at the fair was merely to gauge international interest in what Japan had to offer. “T