National

GSDF brigade shows off armor in rare parade in Shikoku

Kyodo

The Ground Self-Defense Force’s 14th Brigade rumbled through the city of Zentsuji, Kagawa Prefecture, on Sunday during a rare parade replete with combat vehicles.

The event was originally scheduled for last year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brigade’s establishment but was canceled because of the fatal earthquakes in Kumamoto last April.

According to the 14th Brigade, based in Zentsuji, the parade hadn’t been held on public roads since 1965 because it caused gridlock and the heavy vehicles damaged the roads. This time, it attached rubber belts to the vehicles’ caterpillar tracks.

Based on the revision to the National Defense Program Guideline in 2013, the 14th Brigade will replace its tanks with new eight-wheeled fighting vehicles next year.

The Self-Defense Forces said about 15,000 people came to see the four tanks, armored trucks and 450 GSDF troops marching near Zentsuji Temple.

“I really felt the rumbling of the earth, sound and wind” when the tanks passed by, resident Reiko Tanaka, 50, said excitedly.

“But if kids were here, they might be overwhelmed and scream,” she said.