Press Conference by the Defense Minister (Doorstepping) (15:10-15:16 P.M. June 19, 2009)
Press Conference by the Defense Minister (Doorstepping)
Time & Date: 15:10-15:16 P.M. June 19, 2009
Place: In front of the Cabinet Meeting 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 purposes only)
The original text is in Japanese.
The Law on the Penalization of Acts of Piracy and Measures against Acts of Piracy (hereinafter “the Law”) was enacted today. I have always said that enactment of a new law must, in principle, precede anti-piracy measures taken by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). Under the Law, the SDF will be entitled to protect foreign vessels not connected with Japan, in addition to those connected with Japan, from acts of piracy, and also to use weapons to prevent a pirate vessel from approaching a private vessel. Therefore, I believe that the SDF will be able to address piracy in a more appropriate and effective manner pursuant to the anti-piracy measures stipulated in the Law.
Also, following the enactment of the Law, I have issued an order today to the Commander in Chief of the Self-Defense Fleet and others, as well as instructions to the Chiefs of Staffs and others, for making preparations for implementing anti-piracy measures. The Ministry of Defense and the SDF will start anti-piracy operations promptly and smoothly after the Law is put into effect. While continuing the escort mission for the ships in connection with Japan, we will strive to maintain safety and order on the high seas by joining efforts with other countries based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which stipulates that all countries are obliged to cooperate, to the extent possible, to deter the act of piracy.
2. Questions and Answers
Although the enactment of the Law seems to allow for more appropriate responses to be taken, around when will you be sending escort ships and start missions based on the new law?
Since I issued the instructions for preparation today, I would like to act as promptly as possible, setting aside whether it depends on the new law or not.
Could it happen in the next month, roughly speaking?
As of this moment, that has not yet been decided so I can only say as soon as possible. Given how the current maritime security operation has been imposing a burden on the members’ mental health, as pointed out by the opposition parties, I intend to avoid extending their mission for too long, if possible. Therefore, I would like to speed up the preparation, finding the best way to switch personnel, and to switch from the maritime security operation to the anti-piracy measures under the new law.
(For the remainder of the press conference, please refer to the Japanese version.)
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