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Containing the riot: Japanese grunts receive non lethal weapons training

By Lance Cpl. John S. Rafoss | Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni | April 18, 2017

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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan – Protesters yell and chant, while a riot control platoon comes rolling in like Thor, the Norse god of thunder. The protesters began to charge, but the platoon members hold their ground and use non lethal weapons to disperse the crowd.

To be ready for such situations, members of the 46th Infantry Regiment of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force recently visited here to receive non-lethal weapons training, Oct. 20. "The JGSDF are training with Marines on Station to help prepare for Exercise Active Shield six and learn about our non-lethal weapon capabilities," said Dorsey E. Roberts, Pacific Command combatant commander engagement officer for non lethal weapons and capabilities. "Non lethal weapons are designed not to kill, but to take out the threat without taking an innocent life," the Washington, Pa. native added.

"Say a tsunami strikes and wipes out a local hospital and grocery stores," added Roberts. "The innocent people will become upset and will be forced to steal food and medicine for their children. The commander has to make a decision to use force or use another way to stop them."

Members of the JGSDF formed at Penny Lake Field with riot control shields in hand and batons ready to roll. During the day, the JGSDF practiced platoon riot control, crowd dynamics, crowd control, force continuum, hand cuffing, subject control, take downs and vehicle searches.

"I am a Japanese Kenpo teacher. My favorite part of the training was the Marine Corps Martial Arts," said Master Sgt. Kaoru Ogasawara, 46th Infantry staff non commissioned officer and Hiroshima, Japan native.

"The JGSDF soldiers were very disciplined and eager to learn about our capabilities," said Staff Sgt. Randy Scifo, Provost Marshal's Office anti-terrorist/force protection chief. "They had many questions about non lethal weapons employment and when to use them."

After the training concluded the JGSDF met for a meeting about the different non lethal weapons capabilities that the Marine Corps has to offer including the riot control baton, shields, facemasks, shin pads and sound commanders.

"One of the capabilities the Japanese are interested in is the sound commander," said Roberts. "The sound commander has a siren and horns to get the attention of a crowd so that the commander can give them an ultimatum to disperse," said Roberts.

"The training was a success," said Roberts. "At first it started off slow, because we had to get used to the translator. But once we got the basic ideas across, the JGSDF picked up the training very quickly and were really motivated."