The first-ever auction of discarded Self-Defense Forces equipment, including items from a training vessel decommissioned in spring, was held Sunday by an agency affiliated with Japan's Defense Ministry.
The Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency auction, aimed at finding new ways to secure financial resources, included the steering wheel of the training vessel Yamayuki as well as a three-item set of a pilot's helmet, oxygen mask and bag. The auction generated a total of ¥5.82 million ($55,000) in sales, excluding tax.
The ship's steering wheel was sold for ¥520,000 after a starting bid of ¥20,000, while the helmet set sold for ¥660,000, the highest of all the items, following a starting bid of ¥30,000.
"We have sold (such equipment) as scrap metal until now, but if interested parties claim them and they sell, it'll be killing two birds with one stone," Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the opening of the auction held at the ministry's headquarters in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward.
Around 450 participants were chosen by lottery from 590 applicants, but only 176 attended after Kono requested those living outside of Tokyo to refrain from participating due to a resurgence of the novel coronavirus in the capital.
"The items sold for more than I was expecting," Kono told reporters following the auction, indicating plans to consult with the Finance Ministry to use the funds to improve the living and working conditions of SDF personnel.
The Defense Ministry is aiming to hold more auctions, both online and live, in the future.