Press Conference by Defense Minister Ishiba ( 8:43-8:54 A.M. March 7, 2008 )
Press Conference by the Defense Minister (Doorstepping)
Time & Date:8:43-8:54 A.M. March 7, 2008
Place: Lobby in front of the Minister’s Room in the House(This is a provisional translation of an announcement by the Defense Minister and the abstract of the Q&A session at the subsequent press conference for reference purpose only.)
The original full text is in Japanese.
At the Cabinet Meeting and informal Cabinet Meeting, there were some issues raised regarding the Ministry of Defense, but no special issues that deserve to be announced here. As I have stated many times before, there have been discussions in the MOD about revision of the ministry’s Notification Regulations regarding the manner of prompt reporting in a state of emergency to the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, Defense Minister, etc. (*hereinafter referred to as the “Notification Regulations E. We are planning to issue new Notification Regulations by the end of today. The concrete content of the Notification Regulations should be the same as what I have stated so far. But, nevertheless, I’d like to read them out here for you all: The first point is that a consistency with the whole government framework is required, and that means, the scope of target situations will not be limited to incidents/accidents involving the SDF, but will be expanded to all emergency circumstances. The second point is about the content of the Notification Regulations, which has included a variety of things including post-fact reporting, explanations and responses to the Diet. In the upcoming new Notification Regulations, the content will cover only the critical points of prompt reporting. The third point to note is about the critical points to be promptly reported. It’s very inconsistent if the decision of what shall be promptly reported or not is left to the judgment of each individual, and therefore the Notification Regulations will include specific examples. In addition, up to now there have been three categories, which are minor “accident E “ordinary accident E and “serious accident E This way of categorization involving these three classes of minor, ordinary, and serious will be abolished, as the decision of the severity can vary with each individual and it’s not consistent either. As for the existing definition of prompt reporting, the current Notification Regulations state that prompt reporting shall be made “within one hour Efollowing an incident/accident. This expression will be deleted, since the sentence did not intend to allow the person on duty to take their time to a maximum of one hour. It will be revised so that the reporting is made “immediately Eafter the occurrence of accident is noted. Furthermore, the current Notification Regulations state that communication to the Prime Minister’s Official Residence shall be conducted “as necessary E As the interpretation of “as necessary Ecan incur the risk of inconsistent judgment, reporting to the Prime Minister’s Official Residence will be made required. Lastly, regarding lessons learned from the current case, an explanation about reporting to related local governments was added as well. As just described, the Notification Regulations will be revised and made clearly understandable. This revision to issue good Notification Regulations, however, might be meaningless unless each person on duty fully understands the content. Therefore, starting with the new Notification Regulations, it’s important to keep everyone of the MOD thoroughly and fully informed about the content of the Notification Regulations. As to whether the procedures have been thoroughly and successfully disseminated, I believe we need to conduct a drill to see if the procedures actually work. Informing the date and time schedule for the drill in advance could allow things to work out only on the occasion of the drill. And therefore, as per our usual training, I think it is preferable to carry out the drill suddenly in the form which fits reality as much as possible. I believe that is more realistic training, and I would like to properly verify whether the new Notification Regulations definitely work in such a manner.
2. Questions and Answers
Some opinions suggestedthat the Government should consider dispatching SDF personnel to participate inU.N. peacekeeping operations in southern Sudan. What is the opinion of the MOD about this?
There has been no concrete demand to the MOD to “consider dispatching SDF personnel to Sudan E Therefore, I think I cannot make comments on this issue at this time and I should not do so either. If there is such concrete demand, the MOD needs to consider the demand from various perspectives. I think there are things for us to go over, such as: what is the purpose? ? although, the purpose is determined by the Government. To be specific, in which region and what kind of activities will be expected? Do we have the capacity to respond to the expectations? In addition, how long is the period of time required to send SDF personnel? And there may be other such matters.
(For the remainder of the press conference, please refer to the Japanese version.)
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