October 31, 2023
TOKYO – Four retired Ground Self-Defense Force high-mobility vehicles had been listed for sale online by a used-car exporter until late September after being resold multiple times, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The four vehicles were sold by the GSDF more than 10 years ago to a scrap metal wholesaler in the Kanto region that bid on them, according to official documents on the vehicle scrapping process.
The web page for the vehicles was deleted on Sept. 29 following The Yomiuri Shimbun’s report of used GSDF high-mobility vehicles turning up overseas, in violation of rules to scrap them to prevent misuse.
The official documents also state that a contractor in Chiba Prefecture dismantled them in June 2020. They were then resold, eventually ending up at the export company in the Koshin region. They were believed to be in a state allowing for reassembly and reuse, and had already been listed for sale on the exporter’s website in March 2022.
When the GSDF sells off high-mobility vehicles at the end of their 14-year service life, it requires the winning bidder scrap them. Under current regulations, the GSDF can claim compensation from successful bidders for violating the regulations, but entities that obtain the vehicles through resale are not subject to the violation.
The web page showed a photo of two roofless vehicles stacked one atop the other with a caption reading “Only dismantle.” The price for all four vehicles together was $25,400 (about ¥3.8 million) as of Sept. 28. The site had 14 photos of the vehicles, believed to have been taken in Japan.
According to the manager of the export company, when it purchased them from another supplier, the vehicles lacked roofs and other parts. The manager told The Yomiuri Shimbun in March that the company was going to export them as auto parts.
After the page was deleted, the manager said in a phone interview: “I have nothing more to say. We stopped selling [the vehicles] following the report [in September]. We deleted the page because it was still online.”
An Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency official in charge of the matter said, “We can’t comment on individual cases, including as to whether we were aware of them.”