Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister(09:13-09:17 A.M. September 17, 2010)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister (Doorstepping)
Time & Date: 09:13-09:17 A.M. September 17, 2010
Place: Entrance of the Prime Minister's Office
(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

None.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
A year has passed since the inauguration of the Hatoyama Cabinet. Please tell us your thoughts as you reflect on the past year as Defense Minister.

Minister:
Today is exactly one year from that day. I noticed it when putting the date in my letter of resignation. Although this was my first experience as a Minister, I feel I did work that gave me a sense of self-fulfillment thanks to everyone's understanding and cooperation. Looking back on the past year, what left the strongest impression on me was the meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. We have been able to build unshakeable confidence between us, which I think is greatly beneficial to the bilateral relationship between Japan and the United States. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the current Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Both Japan and the U.S. are carrying on with the process of deepening the bilateral alliance without any problems, though we have been confronted with the difficult situation in which there remains a major issue posed by the realignment of U.S. forces in Okinawa. No matter who will take over my post, the issue would be very difficult to deal with. Nevertheless, I am hopeful and confident that the issue will be basically resolved, as long as we hold firm to the conviction that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of the national policy for Japan.

Question:
Going forward, how would you respond if Prime Minister Kan asked you to stay on as Defense Minister?

Minister:
It is a completely hypothetical question, isn't it? Since there should be no respite in the conduct of state affairs, I must continue addressing various issues at hand. In particular, the Ministry of Defense is currently tackling a number of major issues, namely the realignment of U.S. forces in Okinawa, revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and the formulation of the Mid-Term Defense Program (MTDP), and the Ministry of Defense reform. I was hoping to complete these tasks while in office, if possible. Whether I am reappointed or not, I believe that these major issues must be resolved with a sense of commitment.

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

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