Press Conference by the Defense Minister
(08:47-08:53 A.M. February 19, 2010)
Press Conference by the Defense Minister (Doorstepping)
Time & Date: 08:47-08:53 A.M. February 19, 2010
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.
2. Questions and Answers
On the relocation of Futenma Air Station, what are your thoughts about submitting a new proposal by the government or the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)?
I haven't heard about it. Since the consideration has been conducted under the Review Committee on the Issue of Futenma Air Station, which is headed by the Chief Cabinet Secretary, who now leads the whole discussion, I haven't been consulted by him in particular.
In this connection, concerning the proposal to relocate to the ground area of Camp Schwab, the Prime Minister said two days ago that even the proposals that were rejected in the past would be worth considering. What do you think of the comments as the Defense Minister who is well aware of the past process?
Since the government has started the consideration on a zero basis without giving preconditions, and on the basis that we have examined all past processes, I think any ideas are worth serious consideration as long as there is a prospect of reaching a solution with them. I have always said that while the people of Okinawa refuse to see another base constructed in Okinawa, after 8,000 US Marines are relocated to Guam, the remaining 10,000 or so should stay in Okinawa so as not to diminish deterrence. There is a dilemma between these two requirements in a certain sense, but from the perspective of our national defense, I think it is most crucial to find a solution that can reconcile these two interests.
In the context of what you have just said, do you think the proposal to relocate to the ground area of Camp Schwab has an advantage that the construction of a new base will not be required by utilizing the existing base?
Concerning the relocation to the existing base, I recall that there was no major opposition movement arising from the people of Okinawa when Sobe Communication Site was relocated to Camp Hansen. Maybe we should learn lessons from such examples in the past.
Did you talk about the Futenma issue with someone after the Cabinet meeting?
Since I left in the middle of the yesterday's meeting of the experts on the security and defense capabilities in the new era, I was just confirming the details with an official who attended the meeting.
(For the remainder of the press conference, please refer to the Japanese version.)
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