Press Conference

Press Conference by Defense Minister Ishiba ( 10:17-10:25 A.M. May 13, 2008 )

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date:10:17-10:25 A.M. May 13, 2008
Place: Press Conference Room, Ministry of Defense (MOD)

(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 purpose only)
The original full text is in Japanese.

1. Announcements


2. Questions and Answers

Concerning the organizational reform, some media reported over the weekend that the Defense Ministry has established a policy to scale down the Joint Staff Offices and instead direct the resources into the Internal Bureau and the SDF troops. Please let us know the actual facts.

I have looked into the report in question myself. While the report specifies the concrete numbers of people to be involved in the changes, no such policy has been established thus far. The MOD reform promotion team is now advancing intensive discussions on a wide range of agendas which they are focusing on. It is not the case at all that any decisions have been made out of such discussions.

With regard to the Basic Space Law, now that the law is expected to pass the current session of the Diet, please let us know your ideas in the capacity of the Minister of Defense concerning the military use of satellites and in particular concerning the introduction of the early-warning satellite.

This matter is basically under the initiative of the Diet. I understand that the bill for the law is scheduled to be presented today at the plenary session at the House of Representatives in the form of a proposal by the committee chairperson. I am one of the people who were deeply involved in this law while I was in the party. Its features have been unveiled through discussions at the Diet and other means. As you will know by looking through its provisions, the bill reflects the purport of the Constitution of Japan and the modality of our country as a peaceful nation. Specifically, Article 2 stipulates “Development and use of space shall be promoted pursuant to the idea of the pacifism of the Constitution of Japan.” Article 3 furthermore stipulates “Development and use of space must be promoted in such ways as contribute to the ensuring of peace and safety of the international community and to the security of Japan.” Under these provisions, use of space would be promoted pursuant to the idea of our exclusively defense oriented policy. Concerning the early-warning satellite to which you have just referred, no concrete consideration has been made with regard to its introduction. I personally think that it is difficult to account for the introduction of the early-warning satellite by the current theory of expansion of the purpose of use. The question of whether or not Japan needs to introduce the early-warning satellite should be examined in the context of entire Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system. If wider ranges of consideration are further necessary regarding the need to introduce the said satellite and whether such an introduction conforms to the purport of the provisions of the Basic Space Law, I believe such considerations will be made accordingly. Currently, however, I do not see it quite appropriate as the Minister of Defense to refer to matters such as the need to introduce the early-warning satellite.

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