Press Conferences

Press Conference by Defense Minister Inada (09:02-09:11 A.M. March 14, 2017)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 09:02-09:11 A.M. March 14, 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:
Could you tell me the facts concerning the presence of records showing your involvement in a civil lawsuit filed by Moritomo School as the attorney for the plaintiff?

Minister:
I was very surprised to be abruptly shown the records at yesterday's Budget Committee session. However, the answer which I gave in the Diet yesterday and the statements which I have made until now were entirely based on my memories.

Question:
In the records, your name is listed among the names of the persons who appeared in court. What are the facts concerning that?

Minister:
I learned of the presence of the records of appearance in court, which are different from the preparatory documents that were shown yesterday, for the first time when I read the media report this morning. I will appropriately check on that as well, but if those are records of appearance in court, my guess now is that on the day of the first oral argument in the case of mortgage settlement 13 years ago, I may have appeared in court in place of my husband, who was handling the case but could not make it to court. At any rate, this is a case of mortgage settlement that occurred 13 years ago, and I have given my answer based on my memories. This 13-year-old case of mortgage settlement has nothing to do with the ongoing case of the sale of national land. As I have repeatedly mentioned in the Diet, I have really had no involvement in the case of the sale of national land. Although I was of course acquainted with Mr. Kagoike, I have not met with him for the past 10 years. That is because I have had no relationship with him since he showed very rude behavior around 10 years ago. In any case, I have had no involvement in the case of the sale of national land.

Question:
If there is the possibility that you have appeared in court, that seems to be inconsistent with the answer that you gave in the Diet. What would you say to that?

Minister:
As I already said, I replied, entirely based on my memories, that I have not until now served as a legal advisor or been consulted about legal affairs. Concerning the case that was abruptly presented yesterday, I also made a similar reply because I had no recollection regarding that. However, following today's media report concerning the presence of the court records indicating my appearance on the day of the first oral argument, of course, I will check on that. However, if the report is accurate, my guess now is that I may have appeared in court in place of my husband on the day of the first oral argument in the case of mortgage settlement that was being handled by him.

Question:
You provided possibilities and your guess. Is that also based on your memories?

Minister:
I have no recollection at all. Still, I can make that guess because, although I have not yet checked with the court, my name is presumably listed among the names of the people who appeared in court in the records of appearance for oral arguments, which were compiled by the court with respect to the first and second arguments, according to the media report.

Question:
In relation to that, Mr. Kagoike apparently said in an interview that you were on intimate terms with him and that you met with him again several years ago.

Minister:
What I said just now is a fact. Of course, I was acquainted with him as he was a member of the conservative Japan Conference. However, since he showed very rude behavior 10 years ago, I have had no relationship with him.

Question:
What do you mean by "very rude behavior"?

Minister:
I would like to refrain from mentioning the specifics.

Question:
During the Diet deliberation, you stated that you had not undertaken a case or handled court proceedings on behalf of Mr. Kagoike. In that respect, I expect that opposition parties may accuse you of making a false statement. How will you respond?

Minister:
I really gave my answer based on my memories. As I gave my answer based on my memories, I have no awareness of having given a false answer.

Question:
The question now is not your relationship with Mr. Kagoike or involvement in the sale of national land but the inconsistency between the answer given in the Diet and the records, if the records are accurate. Instead of using the wording "you have no recollection" when you gave your answer yesterday, you flatly denied any involvement.

Minister:
I made the flat denial because I had no recollection whatsoever. If you blame me for having a poor memory because I don't remember what happened 13 years ago, I can't contradict you. However, I made the flat denial because my understanding was that I had had no involvement.

Question:
Even so, as this matter is attracting so much interest, it may be pointed out that you should have handled it after checking whether your memory is accurate.

Minister:
Yes, indeed. However, this case of mortgage settlement occurred 13 years ago, and I was not aware of the details, nor was I consulted. Therefore, I made the flat denial in my answer.

Question:
Can you conduct the check within today?

Minister:
I intend to do so immediately. As for whether I appeared in court, the court records are unlikely to be a fabrication, so I provided my guess.

Question:
Did you talk with the Prime Minister after the cabinet meeting?

Minister:
I would like to refrain from commenting on the specifics.

Question:
If the documents are found to be accurate, how are you going to respond?

Minister:
If they are found to be accurate, of course, I will correct the inconsistency in my answer.

Question:
What do you think of your responsibility as a politician?

Minister:
I swear that until now, I have given my answers based on my memories. I have never given a false answer. As I repeatedly mentioned, it is true that I have had no involvement in this case and that I have had no relationship with him for the past 10 years. Therefore, I doubt that this case is something for which I should take responsibility.

Question:
In relation to the Osprey, the U.S. Department of Defense has announced that the deployment at Yokota Air Base scheduled for FY2017 will be postponed to FY2020. Has the MOD been notified of that? Could you share your comments on that?

Minister:
I am not familiar with the facts concerning that.

-PAGE TOP-