Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister (11:01-11:15 A.M. December 2, 2008)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date:11:01-11:15 A.M. December2, 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

At its meeting today, the Cabinet approved, as a matter related to the MOD, that the bill to partially revise the Law concerning Wage and Allowances of the Personnel of the Ministry of Defense will be submitted to the Diet.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
Some media have reported that Japan and Australia will hold a meeting of the Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations (“two-plus-two”) in mid-December and are expected to agree on replenishment cooperation at the time of massive disasters. Please tell us whether this report is true and also what significance you recognize in the upcoming Japan-Australia two-plus-two meeting, which must be held in the future.

Minister:
Concerning the Memorandum on Defense Exchanges, formulated by the Defense Ministers of Japan and Australia in 2003, the two sides decided at their defense ministers’ meeting in June 2007 to start the updating of the memorandum, and further agreed at their bilateral summit meeting in September 2007 on the items to be incorporated in the revision. Based on these developments, the defense authorities of the two countries are earnestly working on the revision, aiming to include the bilateral cooperation on international peace cooperation activities, etc. in the memorandum. The two governments are currently arranging the schedule of the two-plus-two meeting, including the venue. We are not yet at the stage to announce anything specific at the moment. In any case, the two sides have agreed to hold the meeting at an early date, and we would like to accelerate the coordination for the schedule.

Question:
Is the meeting expected to be held at the latest by the end of the year?

Minister:
Yes, it is.

Question:
Concerning the defense exchanges between Japan and China, the two countries promised at a previous bilateral summit meeting that the Japanese Defense Minister would visit China by the end of this year. Now, with only one month to go before the end of the year, how is your prospect of fulfilling this promise?

Minister:
The Diet is in the situation you see now. Meanwhile, Japan and China agreed at their bilateral defense ministers’ meeting in August last year that Japanese Defense Minister would visit China during 2008. The two countries further confirmed this agreement at a bilateral summit meeting in May this year. Specific dates of the visit are now being coordinated in consideration of the schedule of the Diet. Accordingly, we are not yet at the stage where we can announce the finalized dates of the visit. China is an important neighbor of Japan, and I believe the two countries should frankly discuss defense policies of both sides, thereby seeking to improve the transparency of the respective defense policies and to build mutual confidence. To these ends, I am eager to further promote defense exchanges with China through various means. Although I hope to visit the country, the schedule is still under coordination at the moment.

Question:
Do you currently feel you can fulfill the promise with China?

Minister:
I am seeking the possibilities to do it.

Question:
Regarding the retirement allowance for the former ADSF Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami, I think today is the due date for the payment. How is the current situation?

Minister:
I have been informed that the payment in question will be completed today pursuant to the provisions of the Law concerning Retirement Allowances for National Civil Servants. For further details, please ask the division in charge.

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

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