Press Conference by the Defense Minister(09:42-09:49 A.M. September 11, 2012)
- Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date 09:42-09:49 A.M. September 11, 2012
Place: 1st Floor Lobby of Building A, Ministry of Defense (MOD)(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.
Regarding the accident in Florida, the independent analysis and evaluation process that had been conducted by our analysis team over the last week have now finished, and the person in charge of this matter will provide an explanation to everyone today. Then, for two days starting from today, both the MOD and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will be making a visit to Okinawa and Yamaguchi prefectures to explain to the Governors of both prefectures and to the related mayors the general issues concerning the exchanges between Japan and the U.S. on the accident in Florida and how we are going to confirm safety in the future. Furthermore, I am going to visit Australia on Friday to attend the “2+2” meeting. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense will be attending from our side, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence will be attending from their side. Please note that a separate conference between the Japanese Minister for Defence and the Australian Minister of Defense is also scheduled to be conducted for said occasion.
2. Questions and Answers
The results of investigations for the accident in Florida involving the Osprey have now been compiled, and you will be carrying this with you when going to Okinawa and Yamaguchi. Do you think that you will be able to gain the understanding of the local communities with the investigation results that you will be bringing with you this time?
As I have been saying, that is not the point. I will be giving an explanation on what caused the two accidents, but that in itself will not mean that the Osprey’s flight safety has been confirmed. Thus, we will be hearing opinions from the local communities, and both Japan and the U.S. are currently continuing in earnest the negotiations on a periodic basis on how its safety can be confirmed. We would like to hear their opinions, and to compile them at the earliest possible occasion. This is currently being led by the MOFA, but the MOD will also cooperate in conducting this, so I don’t think these investigation results of two accidents on their own are going to explain the Osprey’s safety.
Changing the topic, the Minister of State for Financial Services Matsumoto passed away yesterday. Can you comment on your thoughts?
I have been working with him for only three months as Minister, but he always encouraged me by saying things like, “Please keep up your good efforts. I understand it’s a difficult job, but please keep up your efforts. We will all be looking out for you.” We often sat next to each other in the cabinet meetings and such, where he used to call out to me in a very familiar way. He was a Minister with a truly noble spirit who always seemed to be encouraging other people, and I am truly devastated and at loss of words by this news. Yesterday, when I happened to be in the Prime Minister’s Office, he told me the news directly. He seemed to be deeply shocked by this too. After that, as you may already know, we both went together to the informal discussion meeting with the senior members (of the SDF) before leaving. I would like to offer my deepest condolences.
Did any report come out on the emergency landing in North Carolina?
They have been coming in, although on a piecemeal basis. There are devices located in various places within the airframe that move the equipment, but a certain device seems to have developed a rupture and started leaking oil, which triggered the warning lamp, so a precautionary landing was conducted to prevent any accidents. It seems that they made a landing in a schoolyard or something like that. The details on the cause are currently being investigated, but we have received the initial reports on this.
Where did this rupture occur?
In what you could call a ‘box,’ located inside the equipment. We haven’t heard where in the aircraft this was located. An aircraft needs to move various sections, such as the nacelle and the tail sections, and our assumption is that oil leaked from a rupture that had developed in the heat exchanger that moves these sections, and then flowed to the surrounding equipment, which holds some heat. There were certain press reports that smoke was seen coming out, but that is how we see it for now. However, to be honest, we have yet to receive the results of a proper investigation on this.
Will this affect the deployment to Okinawa?
This is not an accident, but simply a precautionary landing to prevent the occurrence of an accident. Therefore, I feel that setting up proper measures, such as verifying that similar malfunctions are not found in equipment of the same type, are going to become necessary.
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