Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister (10:05-10:15 A.M. December 24, 2008)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 10:05-10:15 A.M. December 24, 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

The Security Council meeting held today deliberated on and approved major matters of the defense capabilities build-up for FY2009. It also deliberated on and approved the extension of the replenishment support activities pursuant to the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law. Moreover, the Cabinet Meeting approved the changes of the implementation plan pursuant to the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law.

2. Questions and Answers

I believe that the Cabinet Meeting today also gave its approval concerning the budget for the next fiscal year. As for the defense budget, you said yesterday that the trend of continuous decline was not favorable. How is your overall evaluation of the budget proposal for the next fiscal year?

Now that the negotiations by the ruling parties have concluded, we have secured the full amounts in our restoration request for our budget proposal. I believe this has allowed our FY2009 budget to maintain the substantial levels of expenses required for the steady improvement of defense capabilities and for SDF activities. In this light, I find the budget proposal satisfying.

The MOD presented its basic ideas about the reform of the Ministry of Defense the other day. The basic ideas feature no specific reference to the issue of the former ASDF Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami. However, you referred to the issue of reviewing the education for the SDF at Diet sessions. At the reform meeting, you said “some of the various important issues should be included, Ethus, “every possible measure should be taken to prevent reoccurrence. EIn these contexts, how do you intend to specifically reflect the issue of the former ASDF Chief in the Ministry’s reform in the future?

The latest presentation on the MOD reform mainly focuses on organizational reform. In the basic ideas of the reform, it is stated that the review within the Ministry will be advanced, with the issue of the former ASDF Chief of Staff taken into consideration. Aiming to realize reform covering this issue, the implementation plan covers a wide range of measures including those not directly related to the organizational reform. We would like to expeditiously proceed with the improvement of measures to educate SDF personnel, by working on the theme of expansion of education for the senior SDF officers Elaid out in the implementation plan. The plan specifically touches on this point. By carrying it out, we intend to solve the issue. In this regard, we will address the issue through the operation of the plan.

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