Press Conferences

Press Conference by Defense Minister Inada (08:20-08:24 A.M. March 10, 2017)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 08:20-08:24 A.M. March 10, 2017
Place: Entrance of the Prime Minister's Office

(This is a provisional translation of an announcement by the Defense Minister and the Q&A session at the subsequent press conference for reference purposes only.)
The original text is in Japanese.

1. Announcements
None

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
A media report has said that the MOD made trial calculations concerning Aegis Ashore and THAAD. Could you clarify the facts and provide the schedule for future deployment?

Minister:
At the moment, there is no specific plan to introduce a new BMD asset such as Aegis Ashore or THAAD, nor are we considering introducing them. Also, the cost varies to some degree depending on the components of the system and other factors. Therefore, it is difficult to give an answer concerning the price per each set of equipment or the overall necessary cost. The National Defense Program Guidelines, which are the guidelines for Japan's defense capability, prescribe that Japan's overall ballistic missile defense capability should be improved, so we are conducting various surveys and studies concerning a future ballistic missile defense system. However, I would like to refrain from mentioning the specifics.

Question:
You have said that deploying THAAD is an option. As the Prime Minister has now said that the threat has entered a new stage, do you think that more earnest discussions will be held?

Minister:
In order to strengthen the capability to defend the whole of Japan at all times, we are conducting surveys and studies concerning a future ballistic missile defense system, including new equipment. However, at the moment, there is no specific plan to introduce Aegis Ashore or THAAD.

Question:
Does that mean that you have not entered the consideration stage?

Minister:
Although we are conducting surveys and studies, we are not considering a specific plan.

Question:
At the previous press conference, you expressed your support for the deployment of THAAD in the Republic of Korea (ROK), but China responded by protesting that the deployment undermines its security. What do you think of that?

Minister:
This month, North Korea simultaneously launched four ballistic missiles, three of which fell within Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), with the remaining one falling in an area close to the EEZ, so the threat from North Korea has entered a new stage. In that sense, it will contribute to the peace and stability of this region that the missile defense will be implemented not by Japan alone but through cooperation between Japan and the United States and between Japan, the United States and the ROK.

Question:
What is your view of China's protest against THAAD?

Minister:
I would like it to be understood that this is not something aimed at China but is a defense against North Korean missiles, which contributes to the defense of Japan and the ROK and the peace and stability of this region.

Question:
There has been a media report that the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson of the United States and the MSDF conducted a joint exercise. Could you tell me the facts about that?

Minister:
I am aware of that media report, but I would like to refrain from giving an answer concerning the exercise that you mentioned, including whether or not it was conducted.

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