Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister(10:42-10:51 A.M. April 24, 2012)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date 10:42-10:51 A.M. April 24, 2012
Place: Press Conference Room, Ministry of Defense (MOD)
(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

None.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
Regarding the reorganization of the U.S. Forces in Japan, it is said that a joint statement will be announced within this week. However, in this round of consultations for revision, a "2+2" meeting has not been held. Does this mean that no negotiations between the Ministers were required for this? Also, what is your impression on completing the consultations, including the compilation of the joint statement? Please give us your comment on these two points.

Minister:
I also felt the need for this too. Therefore, I conducted a telephone conference with Secretary Panetta at April 3. Then on April 16, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs) Lavoy made a visit to Japan, and I conducted direct discussions on the negotiations along with Ambassador Roos. Then, as a final exchange of opinion, last night I conducted a telephone conference with Secretary Panetta. As you may all be aware, the MOD has been conducting tenacious negotiations on the composition of units stationed in Guam and Okinawa, the new cooperation to promote the peace, stability and prosperity of the areas, as well as issues in Okinawa such as the return of lands, the alternative facility for Futenma and Futenma Air Station, and they have come to an agreement. The announcement is yet to be made, but my understanding is that this agreement will contribute greatly toward building the good relationship between Japan and the U.S.

Question:
Regarding the PKO dispatch to South Sudan, the military clashes between South Sudan and Sudan have been intensifying. Will this have any effect on the dispatch of the second unit dispatch which is scheduled for next month? Can you give us your thoughts on this?

Minister:
Regarding the dispatch, the MOD is currently involved in the process of building up its outlook on this. However, we are deeply concerned with regard to the escalation of military tension between the two countries. Therefore, the MOD will be dispatching an investigative mission to gain information on the current situation, and to put together its perspective with immediate haste. Currently, we are scheduled to receive communication on the situation on site today from the Commander of the GSDF Central Readiness Force (CRF), who is currently visiting the site. Through these comprehensive decisions and contact with the UN, the MOD would like to put together its perspective and discuss this with the Prime Minister's Office.

Question:
Regarding this investigative mission that you mentioned just now, does this mean that a new investigation team will be dispatched from Japan?

Minister:
We are thinking of a new dispatch.

Question:
The verdict of the case of former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa for the violation of the Political Funds Control Law is scheduled to be given on April 26. DPJ Secretary General Koshiishi has stated that "the freeze on party membership will be lifted if a verdict of acquittal is given." As a DPJ Diet member, how do you feel that Mr. Ozawa should be treated?

Minister:
I understand that this is scheduled to be given on April 26. How the result will turn out is something for the future, so I would like to refrain from commenting on this for today. I have heard that various people within the party will be taking measures based on the result, but I have not heard for now what that is going to be.

Question:
It is presumed that North Korea will be conducting a nuclear test soon. What kind of postures and/or preparations is the MOD conducting for now, including the detection of any sign of such actions?

Minister:
Of course, we have an interest in this, and are currently investigating this with caution. Since there was such an instance in the past where a nuclear test was forcefully conducted after the missile launch, efforts are being made through diplomacy by all of the countries concerned to prevent the occurrence of such actions. The current response by the MOD will be to observe such diplomatic efforts, and to keep a careful watch on whether they are really going to force through with this.

Question:
North Korea has announced that it is going to conduct "special actions" against ROK. A possibility has emerged that a military situation may develop within the Korean peninsula. How is the MOD/SDF going to respond to this situation?

Minister:
Our country and the MOD are currently making efforts based on the Information Security Agreement between Japan and ROK. As the first stage of the process, we are currently making efforts toward considering the possibility for sharing information. With this in mind, the MOD is currently looking at the possibility to coordinate efforts with ROK. I think there are going to be various decisions that need to be made with regard to this.

Question:
Have the disciplinary action toward Director-General Manabe and the investigation results by the MOD concerning the lecture issue been finalized yet?

Minister:
They have been finalized. We hope to make an announcement on this soon. I also would like to take immediate action on this.

Question:
Can you give any details on this?

Minister:
As mentioned previously, there were three items to be considered. I have heard that the report will be made based on the details on the investigation on this.

Question:
When will it be announced?

Minister:
We hope to announce it at the earliest opportunity.

Question:
Will that be within this month?

Minister:
We will make the announcement when the decision has been made.

(End)

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