Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister(09:15-09:21 A.M. April 17, 2012)

Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date 09:15-09:21 A.M.April 17, 2012
Place: In front of the Cabinet Meeting Room in the House
(This is a provisional translation of an announcement by the Defense Minister and the Q&A session at the subsequent press conference for reference purposes only)
The original text is in Japanese.

1. Announcements

Based on the fact that the government has established a verification team, we have set up a "Verification and response deliberation team concerning the launch case" within the Ministry, with Special Advisor to the Minister of Defense Shikata as team leader and the corresponding Division Directors of the Internal Bureau and each Staff Office as its team members. The deliberation team will verify the operation of the SDF, and the capabilities that will be required by the SDF such as Aegis destroyers, PAC-3 and radar, as well as conducting deliberations on future responses.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
Regarding the response on the day of the missile launch, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) had made an announcement forty minutes after the launch. If there is something that needs to be reflected or improved, what do you think it would be?

Minister:
I understand that the response had been appropriate. The MOD is now submitting the materials detailing the flow of events from when we obtained the Satellite Early Warning (SEW) information up to when we made the announcement. Having seen the overall process, I felt that it was appropriate in terms of accuracy. However, in terms of the notification of information, there may be some things that would come under what you have pointed out. On these issues, we would like to improve on this through the deliberation team with myself playing a central role.

Question:
The MOD was unable to detect the launch on its own this time. You mentioned this in the beginning, but what kind of equipment do you think is going to be required, including the procurement of early-warning satellites?

Minister:
I feel that this is something that the government as a whole needs to think about. Operating the SDF and its capabilities are certainly issues that will need to be taken into account for future improvement. However, this is something that needs to be considered by the government as a whole.

Question:
What kind of specific equipment and upgrades do you think are going to be necessary?

Minister:
This will certainly be considered in the deliberations

Question:
The opposition are making preparations to issue a censure motion against you in the near future. They have cited your responses, such as your answers to questions given in the Diet, as the reason for this. Do you feel that this reasoning is appropriate?

Minister:
I would like to fulfill my duties, and to give my best effort for each day.

Question:
You made two telephone calls to Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura on the day of the missile launch. Was this predetermined as the official communication route for reporting? Also, who within the government was supposed to be giving the announcement first?

Minister:
Regarding the process, we have now submitted our materials, so I think there will be an occasion to give an explanation on this at a later date.

Question:
It says that you made two telephone calls. Were you planning to make said calls from the beginning?

Minister:
I would like to make a promise for today that I will find an occasion to explain everything in detail.

Question:
You mentioned that accuracy was appropriate. However, on reading the material, it says that just after eight o'clock the MOD had determined that, "a flying object, a missile, has probably been launched." However, on Em-Net at 8:03, it was stated, "(the missile launch) could not be confirmed." What kind of communication was going on here?

Minister:
Concerning the details, I would like to set up an occasion to give a detailed explanation on this.

Question:
Do you mean that you will be holding a press conference?

Minister:
Absolutely. Regarding the explanation of affairs by the MOD, I would like to set up an occasion to give a detailed explanation.

Question:
When would that be?

Minister:
I haven't decided on a particular time yet, but I would like to take action on this.

Question:
Tokyo Governor Ishihara gave a speech in Washington D.C. today, and hinted that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is going to purchase the Senkaku Islands. There are concerns that this may have an effect on the relationship between Japan and China. How do you feel about this?

Minister:
The MOD isn't thinking of any specific responses against this for the moment, but I feel that we need to confirm the details on this speech. I would like to refrain from commenting on this for now.

Question:
The MOD has many issues at hand, such as the reorganization of the U.S. Forces in Japan, and now the opposition is preparing to issue a censure motion. How do you feel about the effect this will have on the policy issues of the MOD?

Minister:
I would like to have your understanding that I will be fulfilling my duties.

(End)

-PAGE TOP-