Press Conferences

Press Conference by Defense Minister Iwaya (08:35-08:39 February 5, 2019)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 08:35-08:39 February 5, 2019
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
Jussi Niinisto is visiting Japan now Minister of Defense, Republic of Finland, and a Japan-Finland Defense Ministerial Meeting is scheduled to be held at the Ministry of Defense (MOD). It is the first Defense Ministerial Meeting with Finland in nine months since last May. We will confirm the future direction of bilateral defense exchanges and I hope this meeting will lead to strategic development of these items.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
Talks are also expected to be held between the U.S. and North Korea today. We have often heard you say, “There has been no concrete change to the North Korean threat”. What do you hope is achieved by the U.S.-North Korea talks in terms of the security of Japan?

Minister:
Indeed, at this stage there is no sign yet of any concrete progress by North Korea on complete denuclearization. Therefore, at the second US-North Korea summit meeting, I sincerely hope to see concrete steps toward the achievement of complete denuclearization.

Question:
On the North Korean issue, you often speak of the importance of Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) bilateral and Japan-U.S.-ROK trilateral security cooperation. Due to the incidents including the issue of radar irradiation, the Japan-ROK relationship has been damaged. What effect do you think this has on the U.S. and North Korea, and on the North Korean issue? In addition, how specifically do you hope to improve the relationship with ROK?

Minister:
We have to make sure that there is no impact. That is because Japan, ROK and the U.S. have a shared responsibility for the security of East Asia as a whole. That is why I have long said that the Japan-ROK and the Japan-US-ROK bilateral and trilateral relationships need to be tight, particularly on the security front. Therefore I intend to work hard to ensure these relationships going forward.

Question:
What specific actions are you thinking of?

Minister:
As I have said before, once we have said what needs to be said, the policy is to maintain and continue defense exchanges using our discretion and judgment. I hope to execute this policy with great care.

Question:
It was decided last week that a referendum on the transfer to Henoko would be held across the whole of Okinawa Prefecture. What is your reaction, and do you think it will have any effect on the transfer plan?

Minister:
This is local politics so I will basically refrain from comment, but I see the holding of the referendum throughout Okinawa as the result of the hard work of Okinawa Prefecture, local governments, parties and factions.

Question:
Last week, I understand that a reception for multinational military attach? was held and that South Korean attach? attended the event. Did you have any conversation on the subject of the radar irradiation incident, did you have any exchange of views?

Minister:
We enjoyed having amicable conversations. I talked about our will to create a future-oriented relationship.

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