Press Conference by the Defense Minister (10:31-10:37 A.M. June 30, 2009)
Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 10:31-10:37 A.M. June 30, 2009
Place: Press Conference Room, Ministry of Defense (MOD)(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.
I would like to make one announcement on measures against piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. The two MSDF vessels, Sazanami and Samidare, which left Japan on March 14, 2009 and started the escort mission at the site on April 30 as maritime security operations, will complete four months of the mission in the end of July. Considering that they have been constantly conducting highly strained mission of escorting ships, and given that we have been switching the vessels every three or four months for the replenishment support activities in the Indian Ocean, we have decided that two replacement vessels, Harusame and Amagiri, will leave Japan on Monday, July 6 to take over the escort mission at the site in late July, which we judge to be an appropriate timing for a regular switchover. Meanwhile, the Law on the Penalization of Acts of Piracy and Measures against Acts of Piracy will be put into force on Friday, July 24. The crew on the replacement vessels will leave Japan after going through enough training and preparation for the mission based on the aforementioned law, which enables them to fulfill the aforementioned mission at the site after the law is put into force.
2. Questions and Answers
Concerning the announcement you have just made, we have heard that the first dispatch consisted of two MSDF destroyers, with two patrol helicopters each, and a crew of 400 including the Special Boarding Unit (SBU). What will be the formation of the unit for the second dispatch?
I think it will be the same formation. There will be a briefing on the details later.
There have been increasing calls within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) for an early election of the party president, or, virtual calls for the resignation of the Prime Minister. How do you view these anti-Aso movements toward the election of members of the House of Representatives?
Various things can happen at this stage. There are people of various opinions voicing their views. Speaking from my experience, these things often happen in a political situation like this. But, I think the opinions will ultimately converge. As far as I am concerned, having been appointed a minister by Prime Minister Aso, I think it is essential that I keep my stance consistent in this sense. However, there is nothing strange about seeing many opinions coming out in the process of convergence. Although I cannot tell how the situation will turn, it is my intention to continue firmly supporting the Prime Minister.
(For the remainder of the press conference, please refer to the Japanese version.)
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