Press Conference by the Defense Minister(08:36-08:43 A.M. June 19, 2012)
- Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date 08:36-08:43 A.M. June 19, 2012
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
You remained in the room for over 20 minutes after the cabinet meeting had ended. With whom and what topic were you discussing there?
I was mainly discussing the issue concerning the Osprey. I explained the outline of the background from the occurrence of the accident up to the present with regard to the latest accident in Florida -- not the accident at Morocco -- to the Chief Cabinet Secretary and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and am making confirmations on this.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura mentioned yesterday that, “we would first like to see the cause of the accident, and then consider our response with the related Ministers.” What kind of opinions did you give as a Minister in the aforementioned discussion?
We are aware that the U.S. has set up an accident investigation board in promoting the investigation on the accident, and in the meantime they are conducting hearing inquiries on the injured crew members, so we will continue to strongly make requests to the U.S. side using all available channels for the result of the investigation of the accident to be sent to Japan, even if it is an interim one. Since this has not been sent to the Japan side yet, we are limited to confirming our intention in discussions with the related Ministers on the responses we should take once this has been received.
This is for confirmation, but you will not be making a request for changes in the deployment plan or anything along such lines?
As I mentioned earlier, when we receive notification on the cause of the accident from the U.S. side, we will confirm the details of the notified content and then consider our response to this.
In the trial for destroyer “Tachikaze,” the Lieutenant Commander who was responsible at that time overturned the position that their bullying survey “did not exist” and claimed that “such a document did exist.” In yesterday’s trial, the MSDF gave a response that, “there are six sets of documents.” Please confirm the facts and tell us your thoughts on this issue.
Since cases like this involve court procedures, I feel that it is inappropriate to give specific comments on individual cases. However, I don’t think that the claims being made by the Lieutenant Commander are going to overturn the reality of the so-called issue that “bullying did occur” for this case. Moreover, some of the claims made by this Lieutenant Commander are not factually correct, so I feel that this claim being made in this sworn testimony is going to be rejected.
Rather than the credibility of the testimony made by the Lieutenant Commander, the issue here can be attributed to the fact that something that supposedly did not exist has now come to exist. How do you feel about this?
As I mentioned just now, my understanding is that the actual details of the claims being made by the Lieutenant Commander do not necessarily verify the reality related to this trial that “bullying did occur.” Moreover, as I mentioned just now, the claims being made by this Lieutenant Commander are not all factually correct. Therefore, I feel that this kind of sworn witness is not going to be taken into account within the legal procedures.
This Sunday, a public gathering to appeal against the deployment of the Osprey was held from Futenma Air Station to Ginowan City, and a resolution was made at the site, and both Governor Nakaima and Mayor Sakima are scheduled to bring the resolution here today. Please comment on your thoughts on this, and on how you intend to explain the deployment of the Osprey to them in the future.
Regarding the Osprey accident, there has been a series of accidents recently, such as the accident in Morocco and the recent accident in Florida. We are seriously concerned by this, considering the increasing concern the people in the local areas are having due these accidents. I have only seen this public gathering at Ginowan City through press reports. However, the government has been receiving this with grave concern in that so many people are having serious reservations and worries on the safety of this aircraft. On how we intend to alleviate the anxieties and worries of everyone in the future, we have yet to see the full picture of the accident investigation on the cause of the accident that is being conducted by the U.S. side. We are strongly requesting the result of the investigation to be notified to the Japan side at the soonest possible time, even if it is a preliminary one and not the final version. We are planning to wait for this in coming up with our response.
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