Monday, October 08, 2007


It is not just Baghdad and New Orleans. You cannot get away from Blackwater anywhere:

Two soldiers sent to 'battle space' in remote Japan
Pair's mission is to track missiles
Stars and Stripes
October 7, 2007


Shariki Communications Site, which quietly started operations last year, sits on a wooded bluff on the edge of the Sea of Japan. Since then, the farming and fishing village of 5,500 has been home to about 100 government contractors and two Army soldiers who make up the Detachment 3 of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1st Space Brigade in Colorado.

Their mission: To run an AN/TPY-2 radar system capable of tracking ballistic missile launches headed from Asia toward America and its allies.


Each morning, the two soldiers meet with leaders from the other two entities at the base: Raytheon Co., which runs the radar, and Chenega Blackwater Solutions, which provides the security.

They discuss the past 24 hours, the upcoming day and any problems, orders or exercises under way. The Shariki site is run by the Missile Defense Agency, which oversees the Raytheon contract. The CBS guards answer more directly to Hunter’s unit, which is attached to the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in Hawaii.

The Americans work closely with the nearby 21st Air Defense Missile Squadron, part of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The JASDF base has occupied the bluff since 1980. Now its 300 airmen staff four Japanese-built Patriot missiles and monitor the international waters that separate Honshu from Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island.

Raytheon maintains the radar and Blackwater guards it, all overseen by two U.S. Army uniforms - a captain and a sergeant.

How the expletive deleted did the Blackwater employees get the necessary firearms permits from the Japanese government? And what kind of weaponry are they permitted? Do they, for example, have their attack helicopters with them?

I do not see how Blackwater could swing this unless the armed guards are all former GSDF.

Ah the twists and turns of sovereignty...and Article 9 in the modern age!


Jun Okumura said...

Here ya are.


Signed at Washington, January 19, 1960
Approved by the diet, June 19, 1960
Approval decided by the cabinet, June 21, 1960
Notes of approval exchanged at Tokyo, June 23, 1960
Promulgated, June 23, 1960
Entered into force, June 23, 1960

1 . Within the facilities and areas, the United States may take all the measures necessary for their establishment, operation, safeguarding and control. In order to provide access for the United States armed forces to the facilities and areas for their support, safeguarding and control, the Government of Japan shall, at the request of the United States armed forces and upon consultation between the two Governments through the Joint Committee, take necessary measures within the scope of applicable laws and regulations over land, territorial waters and airspace adjacent to, or in the vicinities of the facilities and areas. The United States may also take necessary measures for such purposes upon consultation between the two Governments through the Joint Committee.


Old Blackwater, keep on rollin'…

MTC said...


Yes, but...I think the authors of the treaty thought the guys with the guns would be U.S. forces subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

I do not anyone even could imagine that the treaty would be permitting mercenaries to ply their trade upon Japanese territory.

Jun Okumura said...

There are three related though different questions here; namely:

1. Did the framers of the Treaty envision civilians engaging in security activities?

2. Did the framers of the Treaty envision U.S. civilians engaging in security activities?

3. Isn't it a little yucky (or yuk-yukky) that Blackwater is involved?

My answers are: yes; maybe not, but; and yes.

The article I refer to mentions Japanese personnel engaging in security activities dating all the way back to the Occupation. It does not mention anything about U.S. civilians in that role, but with the draft still in place, it is likely that it would have been expensive, relatively speaking, to outsource to the private U.S. labor force. (Whereas in 1960 at least, Japanese labor was still relatively cheap.) With the advent of the all-volunteer army, this situation must have changed. (Or greed set in, and Blackwater moved in, together with Halliburton et al, if that's the kind of narrative you prefer.)

So no, I don't think they had Blackwater in mind when they drafted the Treaty, but that's no more illegal or conceptually outlandish than Japanese civilians standing duty, or whatever they did for security purposes back in the day.

And yes, I think that the presence of Blackwater on the U.S. mini-base in (ex-)Shariki Village is mildly yuk-yukky.

Allen Thomson said...

On what heat the Blackwater guys pack, a job ad for a security officer apparently at Shariki (

"Will be armed with a pistol and an automatic weapon and will be required to exercise force up to and including deadly force."

I.e., a sidearm and an M-16, MP-5, Uzi or suchlike.

The "deadly force" bit (which sort of goes along with automatic weapons") is what I'd have thought would have given the Japanese government some pause.

MTC said...

Allen -

Thank you for the research.

Private contractors bearing automatic weapons on Japanese soil...

Anonymous said...

Thing about is that Blackwater has some extremely knowledgeable people working for them, and has the assets and resources to find out every possible way to do something within any given country and do it while operating within the legal framework of the country. This is one of the things that helps Blackwater negotiate contracts in countries providing their services. most other contracting companies or security firms aren't on the same level as Blackwater, and so they are relegated to working lower level contracts because if many cases, these other companies don't have the experienced staff and expertise, and in some cases really don't know what they're doing.