Biological warfare medical facilities to be improved for SDF

The Defense Agency has decided to radically improve emergency medical care facilities to enable the Self-Defense Forces to treat personnel who fall victim to biological weapons, sources said Saturday.

The agency will incorporate the measures in its mid-term defense build-up program for the years 2001-2005, the sources said.

It plans to enhance medical capabilities to cope with weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, according to the agency sources.

More specifically, it plans to rebuild the SDF’s Central Hospital, improve medical treatment for wounded and sick service members and establish a system of remote-controlled medical care with the use of state-of-the-art telecommunications so that patients in remote areas can receive a high degree of medical care, they said.

Defense officials said that a panel of experts will be set up within the agency to promote measures to protect SDF personnel from biological weapons or to treat those exposed to such weapons.

The agency hopes that within a year, the panel, to be made up of doctors and specialists, will have worked out proposals for the development of equipment to detect and offer protection against germs that may cause blood poisoning or other serious diseases and the development of vaccines to counteract germs or poisonous substances.

In addition to improvements in medical care for SDF troops, the Defense Agency is considering improving medical assistance for wounded U.S. service personnel in accordance with the Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines, the officials said.