Press Conference by the Defense Minister (08:52-08:56 A.M. March 29, 2011)
- Press Conference by the Defense Minister (Doorstepping)
Time & Date: 08:52-08:56 A.M. March 29, 2011
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 Q&A session at the subsequent press conference for reference purposes only)
The original text is in Japanese.
2. Questions and Answers
First I would like to ask, concerning the situation at the nuclear power plants, up until now water-spraying operations have been carried out primarily by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), and with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) having difficulty cleaning up of irradiated water, what do you expect the role of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and SDF to be in the future?
We continue to prepare to back up their operation. Although TEPCO will primarily take charge of the clean up of the water in the reactors, if there is a reasonable need for the SDF to lend a hand, we would like to continue to respond enthusiastically.
The Government has directed that people in the area 20 to 30km around Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant evacuate voluntarily. What do you expect the role of MOD and the SDF will be in terms of this zone?
We have stationed members of the SDF throughout the area around the plant. For the zone within 30km of the plant, members of the SDF are now patrolling the area and requesting that anyone who has evacuated indoors leave. However, in some cases personal circumstances mean that people are reluctant to leave, and we can't force them to. At the same time we must prepare for the possibility that evacuation will become necessary for the 20 to 30km zone around the plant. We do not really know what will happen in the future. There are certainly instances where elderly people in need of care are being asked to evacuate to shelters which may not have the necessities these people need for their daily lives. For these people, I think it is quite difficult to leave their homes.
I believe that there are many conditions placed upon the SDF's operations in the 20 to 30km zone, such as having to travel together with medical staff and so forth. What is the state of planning on these points?
The proposal to have medical staff accompany the SDF is, frankly speaking, difficult to realize. At the moment there has not been much movement, but should we face a situation in which the residents of the area are forced to evacuate, in consideration of the extreme anxiety this will cause as well, I hope to receive the full cooperation of medical societies and other groups across Japan.
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