Special Assault Team: Wikis


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Special Assault Team
SAT patch.JPG
Special Assault Team Shoulder Patch
Active (Special Armed Police) September 28, 1977 - April 1, 1996
(Special Assault Team) - April 1, 1996 - Present
Country Japan Japan
Branch National Police Agency
Type Special Forces
Role Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
Size 300 operators
Part of Directly under control of the National Police Agency
Garrison/HQ 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)
Engagements Neomugicha incident, Arrest of Hisato Obayashi
SAT Shoulder Patch

The 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.[1] 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.

SAT establishment

On June 21, 1995, All Nippon Airways Flight 857 was hijacked at the Hakodate Airport in Hokkaido by a lone hijacker named Fumio Kutsumi (九津見 文雄 ?).[2] 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.[3] 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,[4] GIGN [5] and the British SAS.[4]

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.[3]

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.[6] 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.

In September 2003, the SAT's Aichi unit was deployed to resolve a hostage incident. However, the hostage-taker Noboru Beppu (別府 昇 ?) committed suicide in an explosion which killed three and injured 41 others.[7]

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 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.[8] In May 2007 in another incident in Nagoya, an ex-yakuza gangster named Hisato Obayashi (大林 久人 ?) was captured by SAT officers based from the Aichi Prefecture after he killed 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.[9] 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.[10]



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.[10]

SAT operators conduct routine training in their own kill-house at certain prefectures in the Kantō region. 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.[3]


Each SAT division consists of a subduing group, the sniping group, the technical support group and the command section.[3]

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.[3][11]


  • 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 prosecuted.[3]
  • SAT operators have recently entered joint training with the FBI SWAT teams on CQC tactics.[3]



Assault Rifles

Submachine Guns


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

Sniper Rifles


Support Items

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


The following ranks are observed in the SAT:

  • Commander = Inspector - Keibu (警部 ?)
  • Team Captain = Assistant Inspector - Keibuho (警部補 ?)
  • Squad Leader = Sergeant - 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.







  • 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.[11]


  1. ^ "Special Operations.com's Japan Page". http://specialoperations.com/Foreign/Japan/. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  2. ^ Archive copy at the Internet Archive
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Archive copy at the Internet Archive
  4. ^ a b c "The new Tokyo Marui AEG: MP5 Japanese Police/Military Version". 2004-05-13. http://www.renegaderecon.com/recon_details.php?id=138. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  
  5. ^ "Specwarnet's Special Assault Team Page". http://www.specwarnet.net/oceana/sat.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  
  6. ^ "Riot police end hijack drama". BBC. 2000-05-03. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/735318.stm. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  
  7. ^ "Three killed, 41 injured in Japan when office worker takes hostages". 2003-09-16. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_20030916/ai_n11410898. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  
  8. ^ "Police storm Machida apartment after gangster shoots himself". The Japan Times. http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/404460. Retrieved 2007-04-22.  
  9. ^ "Aichi standoff ends after shooter gives himself up". The Japan Times. http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/407042. Retrieved 2007-05-19.  
  10. ^ a b "Security chief pledges to reexamine special assault gear after officer's death". The Japan Times. http://www.japantoday.com/jp/news/407041/all. Retrieved 2007-06-18.  
  11. ^ a b "Okinawa police form assault team for response to terrorism". Stars and Stripes. 2005-09-10. http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=30665&archive=true. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ MP5-J. Retrieved on April 2, 2008. (Japanese)
  14. ^ "SAT" (in Japanese). http://policeenter-blog.269g.net/article/3360440.html. Retrieved 2009-01-25.  

External links


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