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NEWS FLASHES

Yasukazu Hamada Is New Defense Minister

Defense Minister Hamada reviews the SDF Special Guard of Honor.
Defense Minister Hamada reviews the SDF Special Guard of Honor.

With the inauguration of the cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso on September 24, 2008, Yasukazu Hamada was appointed Minister of Defense, succeeding Yoshimasa Hayashi, and assumed his new duties the following day.
    After a review of the SDF Special Guard of Honor, Minister Hamada gave instructions to the Ministry and SDF staff at a ceremony marking his inauguration. "I will give my utmost to protect the peace and independence of our country, fulfill the responsibilities and roles that the international community seeks of Japan, and carry out the mandate of the Japanese people," he said, adding that he will devote his energies to the early implementation of reforms of the Ministry of Defense.
    Minister Hamada recalled that as Senior Vice-Minister of Defense he had sent off a group of SDF personnel on a humanitarian and reconstruction assistance mission to Iraq, saying "I will never forget the smiling faces of those who courageously departed to work for the people of Iraq and stability of the international community."
    He also stated, "It is important that all members of the Ministry and the SDF, including myself, unite as one so that the Japanese people will look upon us with confidence as national assets and so that our defense capabilities are truly effective. I look forward to your continued dedication and hard work."
    As for instructions from Prime Minister Aso, he stated that he was told to make active efforts for the peace and development of the world by engaging in the fight against terrorism through the continuation of the MSDF’s antiterrorism activities in the Indian Ocean and by contributing to the international community through such activities as UN-led peacekeeping operations. He said, "The Prime Minister also instructed me to steadily strengthen Japan-US relations by ensuring the smooth implementation of the realignment of the US forces in Japan." He vowed to tackle the various challenges facing the Ministry of Defense and to devote all his energies to fulfilling the responsibilities that he assumes as head of the Ministry of Defense.

Transition briefing by former Defense Minister Hayashi to new Defense Minister Hamada.
Transition briefing by former Defense Minister Hayashi to new Defense Minister Hamada.