Press Conferences

Press Conference by Defense Minister Kishida (10:15-10:20 A.M. August 15, 2017)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 10:15-10:20 A.M. August 15, 2017
Place: Entrance to 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
I would like to announce that arrangements have been made with the U.S. side to hold the Japan-U.S. defense ministerial meeting between Secretary of Defense Mattis and I in the afternoon of August 17 during my visit to the United States to attend the Japan-U.S. 2+2 meeting. At this first meeting with Secretary of Defense Mattis, we will exchange opinions about the regional situation, including the current North Korea situation. I would also like to further consolidate the Japan-U.S. Alliance by engaging in a frank exchange of opinions about various challenges for the Japan-U.S. Alliance, such as enhancement of the deterrence and response capabilities of the alliance.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
In relation to the two things you mentioned now, what opinions do you intend to express on behalf of Japan at the 2+2 meeting and at the meeting with Secretary of Defense Mattis?

Minister:
This will be the first 2+2 meeting in two years, and the security environment is very severe. As for the recognition of the situation and challenges we are facing in this environment, I would like to further enhance the Japan-U.S. Alliance through an exchange of opinions about a broad range of themes, including the North Korea and South China Sea issues.

Question:
PAC-3 missiles have been deployed in the Chugoku-Shikoku region. When do you expect this deployment will be ended?

Minister:
Concerning North Korea's plan to launch four missiles toward Guam, we recognize that the situation is still such that we should deal with it with alertness. Concerning the revision of the deployment, the situation has remained unchanged.

Question:
U.S. President Trump used harsh language, such as "they will be met with fire and fury," when referring to the North Korea issue. Could you tell me what you are prepared to do if the United States resorts to military action and how Japan should respond to this approach, which appears to be different from the Obama administration's approach?

Minister:
While President Trump has made various comments concerning North Korea, he has also referred to dialogue. As was recently reported by the media, Secretary of Defense Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson issued a joint op-ed mentioning both pressure and dialogue, as I understand it. For my part, I believe it is most desirable that this issue be settled through dialogue. As for our response, Japan will hold adequate consultations with the United States each time.

Question:
This morning, the North Korean state-run media reported that North Korea would like to watch the actions of the United States a while longer. This is viewed by some people as a softening of North Korea's stance, but how are you taking it?

Minister:
The relationship between the United States and North Korea has been discussed, but apart from the missiles that may be launched toward Guam, Japan faces various problems, including the SLBM, so we will continue to appropriately enhance surveillance activities.

Question:
According some media report, spam mails written in Chinese have been sent to incumbent cabinet members, among other officials. Have you received such mails?

Minister:
I am not familiar with digital matters, so I don't know whether such mails have come to my office or the MOD. So far, I have not received any report on such mails.

Question:
Concerning the Osprey's participation in the exercise in Hokkaido, this morning, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman said that the aircraft will be flown within a week or two from now. What is the MOD's recognition of the situation?

Minister:
I am not aware of that media report. In any case, Japan and the United States are holding consultations on this matter.

Question:
Has the date not yet been determined? Or is it under consideration?

Minister:
In any case, arrangements are being made between Japan and the United States.

Question:
Are you considering discussing the enhancement of the MD in reference to specific assets such as AEGIS Ashore and THAAD at the Japan-U.S. 2+2 meeting?

Minister:
I cannot yet comment on the agenda with prejudgment, but in any case, I would like to discuss matters that will lead to the enhancement of the Japan-U.S. Alliance.

Question:
Are you thinking of discussing with the U.S. side the capability to attack enemy bases, which you mentioned before taking office as the minister?

Minister:
The Prime Minister has said that he will not consider that at the moment. In due course, I would like to hold discussions to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance while consulting with the Prime Minister.

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