Speech by Mr. Fumio Kyuma, Minister of Defense

Speech by Mr. Fumio Kyuma, Minister of Defense
(6th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore, 2 June 2007)
“Nuclear Challenges”

(Provisional Translation)

Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure and honor to present my thought today on the occasion of the 6th IISS Asia Security Conference, or Shangri-la Dialogue. I would like to extend my gratitude to Dr. John Chipman, Director of IISS, and his staff, who gave me this opportunity, and thank also the Government of Singapore, which has been hosting this Conference from the outset. The fact that this dialogue has been held regularly and that high-level participants in Asia-Pacific have been exchanging their views on security issues has significance in enhancing regional security through confidence building. Though the situation of this region is different from that of Europe where a multi-layered framework for stabilizing security environment exists, there are movements and initiatives towards improving the security situation in this region through efforts of the countries concerned.
I would now like to touch upon the major development of Japan’s defense policy. From January this year, the Japan Defense Agency became the Ministry of Defense. In addition, the International Peace Cooperation Activities was upgraded to a primary mission of the Self-Defense Forces in the course of the transition. As for myself, I am participating in this conference for the first time as the first full-fledged Minister of Defense of Japan. Such transition demonstrates, both at home and toward outside, the determination to strengthen the Ministry’s policy-making capability in order to cope with issues for peace and stability of the international society and to meet the expectations of the international community. I would like to stress here that we continue to firmly adhere to the basic defense policies of Japan such as exclusively defense-oriented policy and three non-nuclear principles.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nuclear challenges, which is the topic of this session, is one of the serious security problems we face now. I personally follow the issue attentively, since I grew up in Nagasaki, the only place together with Hiroshima in the world where an atomic bomb led to a disastrous end. Japan, as the only country suffered from atom-bombing, has been making strenuous efforts towards a peaceful and safe world free from nuclear weapons. Japan attaches vital importance to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as an essential basis of realizing international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, since the treaty is the most universal vehicle with 189 parties in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. We should maintain frameworks for non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction including NPT, and should proceed toward nuclear disarmament through a practical and incremental approach. At the same time, there still exist, in reality, considerable military powers including nuclear weapons and many destabilizing factors in the international community. Based on this understanding, the basic policy of Japan on nuclear issue is, as stated in the National Defense Program Guidelines, to continue to adhere firmly to the three non-nuclear principles, that is, the policy of not possessing, not producing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan, and at the same time, to respond properly to nuclear threats by establishing a necessary defense force posture, including the introduction of Ballistic Missile Defense Systems, in addition to relying on the nuclear deterrence of the United States.
Furthermore, nuclear threats have become more complex today; the international society is increasingly aware of the danger of the transfer and proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destructions and Ballistic Missiles, especially when they are handed over to non-state actors such as international terrorism organizations. With the progress of globalization through rapid development of communication and transportation, as well as growing interdependence among states, a threat to a certain state may easily be spread to other part of the world. Security issue is no longer confined to a concern of a certain area and cannot be conceptualized only in the context of state-to-state conflict. Thus, we have to cooperate and take responsible measures to prevent the spread of such a threat.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Despite serious economic difficulties, North Korea allocates its resources primarily for military and maintains and enhances combat readiness and military capabilities including WMDs, Ballistic Missiles and Special Operations Forces. Such development constitutes serious destabilizing element not only for Japan but also for the region as a whole. In addition, North Korea launched seven ballistic missiles last July and announced a nuclear test last October. This series of activities obviously constitutes a threat to peace and security of the international community. Such perception is shared in the international community, and the United Nations Security Council adopted unanimously the Resolution 1718 which condemns the acts and provides measures need to be taken by North Korea and the international community shortly after the announcement of the nuclear test by North Korea. On North Korea, there are not only nuclear issues, but also issues of ballistic missiles as means of delivery of WMDs, as well as human rights issues including abduction of Japanese nationals. Japan is seeking to resolve all these remaining issues comprehensively through the various measures including the Six-Party Talks. Japan does not participate in energy assistance program to North Korea until we observe the development of bilateral relations including resolution of abduction issues.
Taking into account the possibilities of proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies as well as universality of human rights issues, those are not the bilateral issues for Japan and North Korea or within the region, but also issues of common interest for the international community as a whole. We therefore have to urge North Korea in unison to respect and obey the rules of international community.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Lastly, I would like to touch upon some measures taken by the Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces as our effort to respond to those development.
As I mentioned earlier, today, security of a nation is closely interrelated to those of others. In addressing the nuclear issues, it is necessary for the international community to engage in broader cooperation. An example of this cooperation is the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). It is necessary for countries to work together with concerted efforts, proactively and positively, to ensure non-proliferation of WMDs by PSI activities which involve broad security issues such as defense, diplomacy, law enforcement and export control issues. Japan has supported and participated in the initiative from the outset, May 2003, and will continue to contribute actively to strengthen the framework.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces have been maintaining multi-functional, flexible and effective defense capabilities to cope with diverse and complex threats today. As a part of that, efforts are made to establish effective responsive capability to WMD attack, which could discourage those who contemplates imposing threat by WMD.
For example, Japan has started instituting the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System together with our ally, the United States. The threat of Ballistic Missiles becomes even more serious when they are combined with WMDs. While Japan had started joint research of BMD in the 90s with the United States, public awareness was increased after North Korea launched a missile over Japan in 1998. Taking into account of proliferation of WMD and Ballistic Missiles thereafter and the technical viabilities of the BMD system being confirmed, Japan decided to introduce BMD in 2003. The basic concept of the system is to operate a multi-tier interception by a combination of the Aegis BMD system at the upper-tier and the Patriot system at the lower-tier. The system makes use of the existing SDF capabilities. First PAC-3 was deployed this March as the first component of BMD capabilities, and the first Aegis destroyer equipped with SM-3 missiles will be deployed this December. Meanwhile Japan has started joint cooperative development of advanced SM-3 missile with the United States.
It is a pressing necessity to sustain unit operational capability as well as to create a posture to minimize damage in the event of WMD attack. Japan is working with the United States to enhance capability in this regard.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Through such multi-layered efforts, we hope that measures to counter the nuclear threats will become more effective and an attempt to threaten the international community will become more likely to fail. Let us work together and continue our efforts for the brighter future by taking one small step further, if not one giant leap.

Thank you for your attention.