Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister(10:30?10:43 A.M. September 7, 2010)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 10:30?10:43 A.M. September 7, 2010
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 purposes only)
The original text is in Japanese.

1. Announcements


2. Questions and Answers

A few days ago the report of the Council on the Future of National Security and Defense Capabilities in the New Era was released. I believe that discussions on the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) will begin to heat up as you approach its compilation by the end of the year, and so I would like to ask your basic idea on the revision of the NDPG.

I am of the same opinion as Prime Minister Kan, who said that the Government will try to have a thorough discussion, using the report as one of its references in the future. The Council was established during the former Hatoyama Administration. As those responsible for policy, we have to receive this report as the opinions of those representing the Japanese people. Although I won't detail each of these points here, the opinions in this report are extremely valuable and worth listening to, and I hope that we will give the report full consideration moving forward.

During the press conference following your release of the Futenma Replacement Facility Bilateral Experts Study Group Report, you stated that you “have agreed with the U.S. side to establish a new framework for Japan-U.S. consultations in which the expansion of the shared use of facilities between the SDF and the U.S. forces would be studied.” Could you tell us when do you expect the consultation under this framework to start and what the advantages of shared use are?

Although you can’t find what I said on the matter in the report, we agreed about that during the meeting, and the U.S.-side has taken the same view as I said. I think it would be better to initiate consultations with the U.S.-side as early as possible. As there are a lot of political events coming up, I hope to start early, while looking at progress in consultations with Okinawa. Regarding the advantages of shared use, we really want to hear the opinions of the Okinawa-side, as well as the U.S.-side. One advantage which we have told the U.S.-side about is improved interoperability between Japan and the United States. In addition, we have also told them that placing the Self-Defense Forces in the relocation facilities will have a positive effect on the feelings of the residents in Okinawa and their trust of the negotiation process. On the other hand, since there are those who have expressed concerns about shared use, I believe we should not only have thorough discussions with the United States, but also exert further effort to have Okinawa fully understand the significance of the shared use concept we have in mind.

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