Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister(09:31-09:37 A.M. June 4, 2010)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister (Doorstepping)
Time & Date: 09:31-09:37 A.M. June 4, 2010
Place: Entrance of the Prime Minister's Office

(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.

1. Announcements

None.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
Today marks the end of your tenure as the Defense Minister under the Hatoyama Cabinet. Please tell us your impression of these more than eight months.

Minister:
I feel a sense of fulfillment in these eight months although I have experienced difficulties.

Question:
You must have various feelings about this government coming to an end in this way. Do you have anything to reflect on - like something you think you could have done better?

Minister:
Given the tenure of four years (until the next general election of the House of Representatives), Prime Minister Hatoyama must have inaugurated the Cabinet with the intention to complete the tenure. However, under the various dynamics in politics, which has increasingly deepened the recent impasse, it is a kind of political wisdom for him to make up his mind to step aside and break the deadlock for the sake of the people. In that sense, I think the Prime Minister's decision has gained a certain level of understanding among the people.

Question:
Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Mr. Shinji Tarutoko have announced their intention to run for the election for a new president of the Party (DPJ). What do you expect of the new leader?

Minister:
Since this is an emergency, I think a leader with a solid vision of the state and plenty of experience will give the people a sense of security.

Question:
In the press conference yesterday, Mr. Kan said that Mr. Ozawa (Secretary-General of the DPJ) should keep quiet for a while. How did you feel about this comment?

Minister:
Mr. Kan, I imagine, perceived Mr. Ozawa as rather intrusive, although I had no real concern about it. His comment must be an expression of his inward thoughts as a politician who has most closely felt Prime Minister Hatoyama's sentiment in his resignation.

Question:
You suggested a leader with plenty of experience who can give a sense of security. Who are you going to vote for ?c?

Minister:
I personally think the most stable and reassuring candidate would be Mr. Kan, with whom I've had a longstanding relationship. He has been in politics for a long time. I also have been in politics for a long time - but that alone does not qualify one as a candidate for Prime Minister. In addition to this, Mr. Kan has been involved in a range of political activities, experiencing a number of hardships and setbacks. So I think the time is ripe for him to become the Prime Minister. Furthermore, he has been for a long time in concert with Prime Minister Hatoyama, and they have been working closely together, supplementing each others talents. In that sense, I think Prime Minister Hatoyama himself would feel reassured if Mr. Kan takes over.

Question:
In that sense, do you look forward to a full-fledged cabinet intended to run for a long term?

Minister:
Exactly so. The most important thing is to rebuild the Japan-U.S. relationship. I'm not saying that the bilateral relationship is going the wrong way, but I think it's time for us to rebuild it once again by sorting out a range of political issues between the two countries. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the current bilateral security treaty. Concurrent with this event, prompt resolution of the Futenma issue will be an effective way to restore the relationship. I met with Mr. Kan yesterday and asked him to stick to the agreement signed recently between Japan and the U.S.

Question:
What did Mr. Kan say in response?

Minister:
You should hear that directly from Mr. Kan.

(For the remainder of the press conference, please refer to the Japanese version.)

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