Press Conference by the Defense Minister (09:42-09:46 A.M. October 30, 2009)
Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 08:55-09:00 A.M. November 13, 2009
Place: In front of the Cabinet Meeting Room in the House(This is a provisional translation of an announcement by the Defense Minister.)
The original text is in Japanese.
2. Questions and Answers
Concerning the Japan-US Summit Meeting, which you will also attend, what kind of discussion will take place on advancing the issue of Futenma Air Station?
I don’t know at this stage how far the two leaders will go on discussing this issue. I think they will probably be seeking a way toward an early resolution. I don’t know the extent to which they will talk about the individual issues, but judging from the overall flow, I think the main focus will be on an early resolution of the issue.
On a related matter, a new framework for discussing the Futenma issue has been established between Foreign Minister Okada and you on the Japanese side and Ambassador John Victor Roos on the US side. How and in what form will the dialogue be advanced?
I think, as a basic condition, it is important that what Japan has been reviewing is fully shared with the US side at first. Since the Minister for Foreign Affairs is proposing the consolidation of Futenma function into Kadena Air Base, I think the dialogue will start from the difference of opinions between Japan and the US on this idea.
When will the dialogue start?
It must start early next week. Otherwise, we cannot meet the deadline.
The budget review started two days ago. The budget of the Ministry of Defense has not been examined yet, but what is your impression of the process so far?
The review team has been working amidst varied opinions, but I am a little concerned about their working in a limited timeframe. Concerning the Ministry of Defense, the host nation support (HNS) between Japan and the US has already been brought to the table, and there is an argument within the Diet as well as between Japan and the US that its transparency should be enhanced. Since the dialogue is already underway with the US side behind the scenes, slashing the HNS budget in the budget-reviewing process may risk giving a wrong message to the people as well as to the international community. Since there is some concern on this aspect, during the budget review, the Ministry of Defense would like the team to let the Ministry handle the matter until the dialogue progresses to a certain degree, in consideration of our relationship with the US.
Have you made any specific request or given any instruction on this?
I think it will be sufficient that we explain about it at the beginning of the review session.
(For the remainder of the press conference, please refer to the Japanese version.)
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