Special Assault Team

Special Assault Team

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Special Assault Team

caption= Special Assault Team Shoulder Patch
country= flagicon|Japan Japan
type= Special Forces
branch= National Police Agency
dates= (Special Armed Police) September 28, 1977 - April 1, 1996
(Special Assault Team) - April 1, 1996 - Present
specialization= Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
command_structure= Directly under control of the National Police Agency
size= 300 operators
current_commander= Classified
garrison= Tokyo (Most SAT operatives) at the Metropolitan Police HQ, others at Osaka, Hokkaidō, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Fukuoka and Okinawa
nickname= Tokyo Branch (Former) - Special Operations Company
(Current) - Unknown
Osaka Branch - Zero Company
SAT, Special Forces (特殊部隊 in Japanese)
battles= Neomugicha incident, Arrest of Hisato Obayashi
notable_commanders= Classified
identification_symbol=SAT Shoulder Patch

The nihongo|Special Assault Team|特殊急襲部隊|Tokushu Kyūshū Butai is the official civilian counter-terrorist unit under the Japanese National Police Agency. Like the GSG 9, the KSK and the SAS, most information on the unit has been confidential, its existence officially revealed only in 1996.

The military counterpart of the SAT is the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force's Japanese Special Operations Group.



The roots of the Special Assault Team can be traced back to September 28, 1977 when Tōkyō and Ōsaka began to train Special Armed Police (SAP) units as an armed response to criminal incidents involving firearms, especially after the Dhaka Incident. [ [http://specialoperations.com/Foreign/Japan/ Special Operations.com's Japan Page.] Retrieved on June 18, 2007.] After its establishment, the unit had its first known incident on January 26, 1979 when the SAP's Osaka branch were deployed during a Mitsubishi Bank hostage incident in Osaka. In the incident, they shot dead Akiyoshi Umekawa after he gunned down two employees and two policemen. It was the first shooting incident in Japan involving armed police officers. In 1992, the SAP was dispatched to Machida city to resolve an armed criminal incident.

AT establishment

On June 21, 1995, All Nippon Airways Flight 857 was hijacked at the Hakodate Airport in Hokkaido by a lone hijacker named nihongo|Fumio Kutsumi|九津見 文雄. [ [http://www.insite-tokyo.com/column/itaru/index.html Crime and Justice in Japan.] Retrieved on June 18, 2007] This incident marked the first time that the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces cooperated with the SAP by providing Kawasaki C-1 aircraft as means of transportation from Haneda Airport. The plane was stormed by SAP officers and the hijacker was arrested and subdued, with assistance from the Hokkaido Police's Riot Squad. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060202053018/http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sbu/DATABASE-JAPAN-SAT.htm.] - Internet Archive Link. ja icon] The incident had made National Police Agency (NPA) officials work for the establishment of the Special Assault Team. On the same year, SAP units were dispatched to Yamanashi Prefecture.

The attempted hijacking marked the need for a specialized counter-terrorist team that would operate under the auspices of the National Police Agency.

On April 1, 1996, the Special Assault Team (SAT) was established after a year's training with the GSG 9, [http://www.renegaderecon.com/recon_details.php?id=138 The new Tokyo Marui AEG: MP5 Japanese Police/Military Version.] Retrieved on June 18, 2007] GIGN [ [http://www.specwarnet.net/oceana/sat.htm Specwarnet's Special Assault Team Page.] Retrieved on June 18, 2007.] and the British SAS. [http://www.renegaderecon.com/recon_details.php?id=138 The new Tokyo Marui AEG: MP5 Japanese Police/Military Version.] Retrieved on June 18, 2007] During the Japanese embassy hostage crisis in Peru, the SAT had simulated raids on retaking buildings similar to the Japanese Embassy as a possible counter-measure to a similar incident in Japanese soil. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060202053018/http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sbu/DATABASE-JAPAN-SAT.htm.] - Internet Archive Link. ja icon]

In June 1997, the SAT was involved in its first anti-hijacking case when it stormed a bus and captured a hijacker alive.

On June 11, 1999, a lone man armed with a hunting rifle stormed the Keiyo Bank in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture. The SAT's Chiba unit was deployed to resolve the incident, but the hostage was released and the man was arrested by police through negotiations. The incident then forced Chiba Police to create the Attack Rescue Team, which would take responsibility for the SAT in low level criminal incidents. The unit has similar responsibilities to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police's SIT (Special Investigation Team) and the Osaka Police's MAAT (Martial Arts Attack Team).


The SAT became known in Japanese media again when its Fukuoka branch took part in recapturing a hijacked bus in Fukuoka in the Neomugicha incident in 2000, capturing the lone hijacker alive. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/735318.stm Riot police end hijack drama] Retrieved on June 18, 2007.] The hijacking event showcased the SAT's dedication to protect the public with their counter-terrorist skills in subduing felons such as criminals and terrorists with as little force as possible. Their biggest operation was in 2002 during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, when SAT units were seen providing heavy security for soccer teams during matches on Japanese soil.

In September 2003, the SAT's Aichi unit was deployed to resolve a hostage incident. However, the hostage-taker nihongo|Noboru Beppu|別府 昇 committed suicide in an explosion which killed three and injured 41 others. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_20030916/ai_n11410898 Three killed, 41 injured in Japan when office worker takes hostages.] Retrieved on March 9, 2008.]

Recent moves by NPA officials lead to an increase in manpower. In 2005, NPA officials increased the SAT's manpower from 200 to 250 operators. Another increase followed in 2006 when they increased the unit's manpower from 250 to 300 operators. The unit has also been featured recently in various Japanese TV documentaries.

In April 2007, the SAT's Tokyo branch had been involved in capturing nihongo|Yuji Takeshita|竹下 祐司, a known yakuza wanted for gunning down another gangster and attempting to wound/kill police officers when squad cars had arrived near his apartment. [ [http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/404460 Police storm Machida apartment after gangster shoots himself.] Retrieved on April 22, 2007.] In May 2007 in another incident in Nagoya, an ex-yakuza gangster named nihongo|Hisato Obayashi|大林 久人 was captured by SAT officers based from the Aichi Prefecture after he killed nihongo|Kazuho Hayashi|林 一歩, an SAT operative with the rank of Sergeant. Posthumously promoted to Captain, he is the first in the SAT to die in the line of duty. [ [http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/407042 Aichi standoff ends after shooter gives himself up.] Retrieved on May 19, 2007.] His death has forced National Public Safety Commission Chairman Kensei Mizote to issue a press report, stating that SAT gear will be checked to see if it was responsible for Hayashi's unfortunate death. [http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/407041/all Security chief pledges to reexamine special assault gear after officer's death.] Retrieved on June 18, 2007.]



The Tokyo branch, formerly called "Special Operations Company" (特科中隊), is under 6th Mobile Unit, Security Department of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (警視庁警備部第六機動隊). In Osaka Prefecture, it was created under the 2nd Mobile Unit (第二機動隊) and was unofficially called the "Zero Company" (零中隊). Today, the official name of SAT in Japanese is simply "特殊部隊,"or "Special Forces."

Currently other branches exist in the prefectural Police departments of Hokkaidō, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Fukuoka and Okinawa. Nationwide SAT maintains about 300 personnel. [http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/407041/all Security chief pledges to reexamine special assault gear after officer's death.] Retrieved on June 18, 2007.]

SAT operators conduct routine training in their own kill-house at certain prefectures in the Kantō region (Locations are believed to be classified). The SAT has also conduct joint training with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in order to maintain their state of readiness. For instance, SAT personnel have been tutored by the 1st Airborne Brigade on insertion techniques. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060202053018/http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sbu/DATABASE-JAPAN-SAT.htm.] - Internet Archive Link. ja icon]


Each SAT division consists of a subduing group, the sniping group, the technical support group and the command section. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060202053018/http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sbu/DATABASE-JAPAN-SAT.htm.] - Internet Archive Link. ja icon]

The subduing group leads the operation and the sniping group takes charge of sniping and reconnaissance. The technical support group is in charge of electronic equipment such as microphones and cameras. The command section is responsible for tactical planning. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060202053018/http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sbu/DATABASE-JAPAN-SAT.htm.] - Internet Archive Link. ja icon] [http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=30665&archive=true "Okinawa police form assault team for response to terrorism"] , "Stars & Stripes", November 1, 2006 ]


*Upon recruitment to the SAT, the officer's name is deleted from the roster of active police officers; this is done similarly to the British SAS and GSG 9 so as to protect them from being attacked by criminals, extremist and terrorist groups, as well as being persecuted. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060202053018/http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sbu/DATABASE-JAPAN-SAT.htm.] - Internet Archive Link. ja icon]
*SAT operators have recently entered joint training with the FBI SWAT teams on CQC tactics. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060202053018/http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sbu/DATABASE-JAPAN-SAT.htm.] - Internet Archive Link. ja icon]



Assault Rifles

* M4 Carbine (Used for CQC only)
* Howa Type 89 [Though it is said that the SAT has possessed a quantity of these rifles, they are not known to be used in any of the SAT's operations]

ubmachine Guns

*Heckler & Koch MP5
**MP5-J [ [http://www.tokyo-marui.co.jp/products/01/01_mp5j/index.html MP5-J.] Retrieved on April 2, 2008. ja icon]


*Unknown, but known shotguns in possession include Mossberg and Remington-type shotguns

niper Rifles

*Heckler & Koch PSG1
*Howa Type 64 Rifles modified for sniping use
*Remington 700


*Glock 19
*Heckler & Koch P9
*Heckler & Koch USP 9
*Nanbu M60
*Sig Sauer P226
*Sig Sauer P228
*Smith and Wesson M3913 (Rumored to be in use by the Hokkaido SAT unit)

upport Items

*Ballistic Helmet with faceshield
*Ballistic Shield
*Night Vision Goggles
*SAT Assault Vehicle with platform for sniping use


The following ranks are observed in the SAT:

* Commander = Inspector - nihongo|Keibu|警部
* Team Captain = Assistant Inspector - nihongo|Keibuho|警部補
* Squad Leader = Sergeant - nihongo|Junsabucho|巡査部長

Areas of Responsibility (AOR)


* The SAT Tokyo unit is responsible for the Haneda Airport and other facilities such as the Imperial Palace, the Prime Minister's residence or Kantei and the National Diet Building. The unit is also in charge of resolving situations involving any hostile act against foreign embassies.


* The SAT Osaka unit takes charge of the Kansai Airport and the Osaka Airport.


* Included in the SAT Hokkaido unit's AOR is the New Chitose Airport and the Hakodate Airport


* The Narita International Airport is the responsibility of the SAT Chiba unit.


* Kanagawa's SAT unit takes charge of securing the US Navy's 7th Fleet headquarters.


* Aichi's SAT unit is responsible for the Chubu Centrair International Airport.


* Security for the Fukuoka Airport and the various foreign consulates are left to the Fukuouka SAT unit.


* Various US Military installations, such as the Naha Military Port, and the Naha Airport are left to the responsibility of the Okinawa SAT unit. This was the latest SAT unit to be established on September 10, 2005. [http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=30665&archive=true "Okinawa police form assault team for response to terrorism"] , "Stars & Stripes", November 1, 2006 ]

In Popular Culture

The SAT has been portrayed in various manga/anime, movies, television shows and even in video/computer games as protagonists or allies assisting protagonist characters. However, the following involve the SAT in significant ways:

* The SAT team comes out Room of King when the culprit goes into the Prada shop and tries to steal things to get money but the SAT team and the sings with the non-related negotiator
* The SAT team comes out in 20th century boys
* The SAT team comes out in Unfair the movie, when the terrorists are in the hospital and the people are all out. But then the captain falls into the trap and all of the A team die.
* The SAT team goes into training in Bayside Shakedown 2 when the sergeant of the local police wins against SAT
*The SAT, in First President of Japan, is shown as a scapegoat of political negligence in areas of the Japanese government when numerous casualties were inflicted on them by ex-North Korean commandos due to failure to warn SAT forces on the security upgrades placed on the Mihama nuclear power plant. ["First President of Japan: Volume 3." Page 126-127]
*Seen in the early stages of Deleted Scenes in in the Japan stage. They are called Kidoutai, though this may be an error on the part of the developers. However, SAT operatives do wear Kidoutai uniform to avoid attracting attentions on occasions. This was later omitted in the final version, though it could still be accessed.
*One of the characters in Police 911 2 is a SAT operative armed with a Heckler and Koch MP5K Submachine gun, as a part of a joint investigation team consisting of Japanese and American authorities.
*Players play as SAT operatives in the Lethal Enforcers 3/Seigi no Hero (Diet Building) stage of Lethal Enforcers 3/Seigi no Hero battling against a mutinous JGSDF regiment.
*In the anime Elfen Lied, SAT forces are used to track down and capture Lucy/Nyu as the response of the Japanese government over their disappearance, being portrayed as antagonists. Bandou is one of the fictional members of the SAT.
*In Pokémon, the SAT has been featured in two instances:
# SAT forces try to track down the Terrorists who attack the Rayquaza Tournament
# The MRT (Mewtwo Response Team) are created to deal with Mewtwo threats. Their equipment and weapons look similar to the real-life GSG 9 and the SAT.
* In the five-volume anime series The Analog Complex, SAT forces work with Vector 18 operatives to retake a Japanese military base taken over by terrorists from Azerbaijan.
*A fictional police anti-terrorist unit based on the SAT is featured in the Playstation 2 game, Simple 2000 Series Vol. 108: The Nippon Tokushubutai (Japan Special Forces).
*A subplot of You're Under Arrest's 2nd Season involves conflict between Miyuki and Natsumi due to the latter's selection by Special Assault Team officials.
*In Densha Otoko, SAT forces were trying to retake a convenient store while Densha Otoko was trying to get a cell phone charger.

ee also

*Special Security Team


External links

* [http://specialoperations.com/Foreign/Japan/ Special Operations link] en icon
* [http://www.specwarnet.net/oceana/sat.htm SpecWarNet link] en icon
* [http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~sbu/DATABASE-JAPAN-SAT.htm Unofficial SAT page] ja icon
* [http://www.kiui.ac.jp/~yamatosh/students/syun/SAT.htm Unofficial SAT bio] ja icon
* [http://hanran.tripod.com/terro/c-sat.html Unofficial SAT information page] ja icon
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBLZ4LlEz4g You Tube Training Video]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m47sfQcgSyk You Tube Demo Video]

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