Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister(9:32-9:37 A.M., August 24, 2012)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date 9:32-9:37 A.M., August 24, 2012
Place: 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 explanation to the local communities concerning the Osprey, you have been saying repeatedly that you would like to visit Okinawa and Yamaguchi by the end of the month. How are you coordinating your schedule to make this visit?

Minister:
I am currently coordinating my schedule. However, as you may know, there have been press reports that a censure motion is going to be issued in the Diet next week, so the Diet schedule is yet to be fixed and nothing has been decided on how far the cabinet members are going to become involved in this, so I have not yet received approval from the Diet side with regard to the overall plan. In the local areas, the prefectural Governors of Okinawa and Yamaguchi have their own respective schedules, and for Okinawa, as you may know, they have the Kyu (Old) Obon coming up at the end of this month, and it would be very discourteous to make a visit to Okinawa during this time. Therefore, I am currently coordinating my schedule with some difficulty to decide on the order for Yamaguchi Prefecture and Okinawa prefecture in order to avoid such an outcome. I hope to announce this once it has been fixed. Currently, I am not in a position to do that.

Question:
In certain press reports, it mentions that a “2+2” meeting with Australia is going to be conducted. When is this scheduled to occur? Also, can you tell us what kind of things are going to be discussed in this meeting?

Minister:
Nothing has been decided for now regarding the schedule for this, but -- prior to my appointment to office -- I think there had been discussions going on between Japan and Australia to conduct a “2+2” meeting. The schedules of the cabinet members on the Australian side did not quite fit in, and the scheduling has been put on the back burner up to now. Currently, we are sending out our message to conduct this “2+2” meeting at around the time after the current Diet session closes, and the schedules are currently being coordinated.

Question:
Regarding the process on the confirmation of safety, you mentioned in the press conference the other day that this will be “at the end of this week or the beginning of next week.” Can you tell us the situation since then concerning the coordination of schedule for this?

Minister:
With regard to the accident in Morocco, as you may know, we dispatched our analysis team to the U.S. last week to receive a briefing on the accident investigation report from the U.S. side, and the analysis team is currently working in earnest on the analysis. We hope to be able to give an explanation to everyone early next week. Then, regarding the following accident in Florida, although the schedule has not been fixed, we are proceeding with a plan for the U.S. to give an explanation to Japan by the end of this month, so this will be conducted in Washington, D.C. for next week as well. We will be taking back this information to conduct our analysis, which should take about another week or so, so my understanding is that we should be able to give our explanation to everyone regarding the two accidents in the first week of September at the earliest.

Question:
Regarding the X-Band Radar of the U.S. Forces, there have been certain press reports saying that an agreement has been reached on the additional deployment of the X-Band Radar in Japan in the previous conference held between you and Secretary of Defense Panetta. Can you verify the facts on this?

Minister:
With regard to missile defense, as you may know, this is an important defense system not only for Japan’s security, but also for the overall stability of this area. Both Japan and the U.S. have been conducting various consultations to date on missile defense, and also on how to deploy the U.S. X-Band Radar system. Even now, both Japan and the U.S. are conducting discussions on this issue as you have mentioned. With regard to specific details on this beyond that, we have not yet come to a situation where we can talk about this for now, so we would like to ask for some more time on this.

(End)

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