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The government appointed Gen. Hajime Massaki on Friday to the new post of Self-Defense Forces Joint Staff chief to serve as a chief aide to the Defense Agency’s director general under the planned integration of the operations of the SDF’s ground, maritime and air branches.

Massaki, 61, has served as chairman of the SDF’s Joint Staff Council. The post of Joint Staff Council chairman will be replaced by the new post at the time of the integration.

Massaki’s appointment, decided on at a Cabinet meeting, will take effect when integrated operations are launched March 27, government officials said.

The government established the Joint Staff chief post as part of efforts to deal more effectively with terrorism, disasters and other events.

Under the current system, the chiefs of staff of the SDF’s three branches advise the director general separately, with the chairman of the Joint Staff Council serving as a coordinator.