Press Conference

Press Conference by Defense Minister Ishiba ( 9:26-9:45 A.M. May 20, 2008 )

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date:9:26-9:45 A.M. May 20, 2008
Place: the MOD Antechamber in the House of Councilors

(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 Panel of Experts for Reforming the Ministry of Defense, the Sankei Shimbun has reported that among the six draft plans on MOD reorganization to be proposed by the Ministry of Defense, two refer to the abolition of the staff offices. Is it true?

That should be rather asked to the reporter who wrote the article. There has been no decision at the moment, such as that six draft plans have been shortlisted. We are still working on the final coordination. Today is May 20 and the Panel of Experts will meet in the early evening tomorrow. How do we put things in order? According to the media report, existing draft plans consist of those calling for a larger Internal Bureau, and those suggesting otherwise. If this is the case, we will divide the plans into two groups and scrutinize the contents of them. As a result, MOD might present some of them as they are, or big pictures of them. Theoretically, there can be alternative suggestions as well. There are targets to be achieved through the Defense Ministry reform. We will present to the Panel proposals to achieve them. Each proposal has a different emphasis. But I don’t think that there will be detailed explanations concerning negative and positive points of each proposal and what it emphasizes. To summarize, we have some general ideas which establish a major direction. But, we are not at a stage to state that we would like to carry out the reform using any particular proposal. I expect a process where we will present our proposals to the experts and they will review and discuss them.

After a direction is presented by the Panel of Experts for reforming MOD as early as the next month, will the existing MOD reform promotion team be engaged in materializing it or will the Ministry set up a new organization for such work?

I have absolutely no idea about that point. Given that it has yet to be known what recommendations are to be shown by the Panel of Experts, I do not think I should refer to anything that should come after the meeting. When the Panel of Experts presents its final report, I expect the Ministry will look into what organization can carry out prompt and in-depth discussions, in light of what measures will be most ideal for realizing recommendations in the report. Under these circumstances, I am currently unable to elaborate this matter. But I can only say that we will take the best measures to materialize the Panel’s proposals.

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