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Yuriko Koike, New Minister of Defense

Defense Minister Koike reviewing the SDF Special Guard of Honor
Defense Minister Koike reviewing the SDF Special Guard of Honor

On July 4 the new minister of defense, Yuriko Koike, took over from the former minister of defense, Fumio Kyuma. Upon her arrival at the Ministry of Defense, she received the salute of the Self-Defense Force (SDF) Special Guard of Honor and reviewed the guard.

Defense Minister Koike delivering an address after her arrival at the Ministry of Defense
Defense Minister Koike delivering an address after her arrival at the Ministry of Defense
    In her address at the ceremony marking her assumption of office. Defense Minister Koike said that she was honored to be in charge of national defense, a noble mission linked to the basis of national existence, and felt keenly the importance of her mission and responsibility. She also stressed that both justice and sympathy are important to the nation's policies; while justice is necessary to the implementation of policies, it is also necessary to be trusted by the people and to be able to gain their sympathy.
    In addition, Defense Minister Koike indicated that in order to respond properly to diverse and complex new threats and diverse contingencies and to maintain Japan╩╝s security, it is necessary to build up multifunctional, flexible, and effective defense capabilities and also to engage in international peace cooperation activities pro-actively. As part of her resolve, she set forth the following agendas: (1) with the transition to the Ministry of Defense, aiming to be a policymaking ministry more responsive than before to the expectations and trust of the people, enhancing and strengthening its policymaking functions and expanding contact points with local communities; (2) further strengthening the Japan-U.S. security arrangements and the close relationship with the United States based on the these arrangements and achieving an early realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, and also, based on the Japan-U.S. engagement, advancing security and defense cooperation with nations that can share values and awareness of issues, such as Australia and India; (3) in order to make all necessary preparations for response to various contingencies, building up ballistic missile defense systems steadily and at an early stage, conducting effective activities in various contingencies including terrorism and disasters, and thus establishing the best possible posture to be able to respond to the public's expectations and trust; (4) as a responsible member of the international community, engaging proactively in international peace cooperation activities and also considering the future form of the Defense Ministry's international contributions; and (5) strengthening the information security systems of the Ministry of Defense and the SDF as an important and urgent task.

Defense Minister Koike reviewing the SDF Special Guard of Honor
Defense Minister Koike receiving the salute of the Special Guard of Honor