Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister (03:48-03:53 P.M. September 20, 2011)
- Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister (Doorstepping)
Time & Date: 03:48-03:53 P.M. September 20, 2011
Place: Entrance to the Yoshikura Welfare Center, JMSDF Yokosuka District Headquarters(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
This was the first time that you have inspected the Maritime Self-Defense Force (SDF) since your appointment. Would you be kind enough to give us your impressions?
The Maritime Self-Defense Force is an organization that plays an absolutely crucial role in terms of securely monitoring an extensive marine area, undertaking warning and surveillance activities to protect the security of Japan in a variety of ways. Consequently, I was very interested in coming here. Here at Yokosuka, on the front line, I have listened to various comments from those actually on the ground and have seen the situation here, so in one sense I feel quite reassured. In addition, I have tried to convey that I want them to continue to do their best in the future with a firm sense of purpose, so I myself would like to continue to place my trust in them and monitor their progress.
I would appreciate it if you could confirm something that came up in this morning's press conference. Regarding the dispatch of a facilities unit to South Sudan, am I correct in understanding that you said that it would be quite difficult until a positive statement was made at the UN General Assembly, and that it would be difficult, because it would take a bit of time to conduct investigations?
In regard to our involvement in the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) in South Sudan, there are various materials, based on which the Prime Minister will make a judgment, and I have explained this, but I do not really know what kind of topics he will raise at the UN General Assembly, based on his own judgment. I leave that entirely up to his discretion. However, it is necessary for us to dispatch key personnel from the command headquarters, and we have already declared that we are interested in this, but when it comes to the facilities unit, it is not the sort of situation where we can just say "Yes, OK." Nevertheless, we understand the necessity, so when it comes to dispatching a facilities unit, we have said that "a thorough preliminary on-site investigation will need to be conducted." and "We will make the final judgment after looking at the outcomes of that investigation."
With regard to this, do you feel that the Prime Minister wants to demonstrate this kind of attitude, given that it is, after all, his debut appearance in the diplomatic arena.
Based on the impressions of the people who previously undertook the on-site investigations, apart from within a very narrow scope, we still do not adequately understand the local situation, so in this sense, when it comes to the dispatch of a facilities unit and things like that, I believe that the various circumstances of each country will come into play in the UN, to some degree. Accordingly, I think that the judgment will be made in a comprehensive manner, while looking at these kinds of circumstances.
According to estimates by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, in Tanabe City in Wakayama Prefecture, there is a possibility that water is already overflowing from landslide dams, and the danger of landslides is increasing. How do you think the Ministry of Defense and the SDF will deal with this?
Since the damage from Typhoon Talas occurred, our SDF have issued an order that they are to get to the area in question as quickly as possible in receiving a request from one of the prefectural governors of the three prefectures concerned, and I think that they have done their best in line with this. If the holding dams, or dams caused by landslides become dangerous as a result of the way in which the rain is falling, then I believe that the SDF will do their utmost to do anything they can to help. Consequently, I have issued a directive to this effect to all of the relevant units. Having said that, any requests regarding this will be made by the local authorities concerned and we are working in coordination with them, so it is not the case that the SDF will act on their own accord. Accordingly, amidst these circumstances, I would like to ensure that we remain in close contact and respond to the situation while putting in place a system on which we can rely.
- Press Resources