Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister(08:33-08:37 A.M. June 4, 2013)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date 08:33-08:37 A.M. June 4, 2013
Place: Entrance to the Prime Minister's Office
(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:
Mayor of Osaka City Hashimoto and Secretary-General of the Japan Restoration Party Matsui, among others, suggested to the effect that the Ospreys could be moved to Yao Airport in Osaka. What are your thoughts on that?

Minister:
To alleviate the burden on Okinawa, our basic stance is to obtain the understanding of local communities across Japan regarding the flight training and the relocation of a training site involving the Ospreys while continuing consultations with the U.S. side. However, since we have not yet received an official explanation from the Governor of Osaka Prefecture, we will consider the content of his explanation upon receiving it.

Question:
In reality, do you think it is feasible for Yao Airport to host flight training?

Minister:
First, this needs to be discussed between Japan and the U.S. However, even before this discussion can take place, it is indispensable to confirm the approval of local governments concerned and to have good relations with local residents in particular. Thus, when a municipality concerned offers explanation to the Government, the policies of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) will be explained to the municipality within the Government.

Question:
Reportedly, Mayor Hashimoto and others will come to Tokyo and meet with Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga. Is there a chance that you will also meet with them?

Minister:
No. So far, I have not heard of such a meeting being set up, and no such activities have been scheduled.

Question:
You said that consultations are underway concerning the relocation of a training site. Roughly when do you expect to put this measure into practice? If you have a sense of schedule so to speak, could you tell us?

Minister:
My understanding is that consultations have not progressed far enough to set a schedule.

Question:
According to a press report, the Chinese side expressed a concern about Japan’s plan to participate in the Dawn Blitz, and requested to cancel the participation. Could you as the MOD confirm the facts on this? And what is your reaction?

Minister:
With regard to the Dawn Blitz, my understanding is that this training is aiming to improve the Self-Defense Forces (SDF)’ joint operations capabilities, and conducted under the framework of Japan-U.S. relations. Accordingly, we are not assuming any specific country as a target. In any case, we plan to continue the exercise in the future in order to improve the capabilities of the SDF and improve the joint operations between Japan and the U.S.

Question:
Could you confirm if such a request was really communicated from China?

Minister:
While we are aware of the press report, regarding the details, I will refrain from referring to them.

Question:
While you were in Singapore, did anyone particularly talk about it?

Minister:
No one brought up this subject particularly as I recall.

Question:
In the debate on the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), I presume that the handling of the attached table is becoming the focus of deliberations in the Government. As for the MOD, what are your thoughts on the significance of presenting the attached table?

Minister:
I have not been told that the attached table has raised any specific issues. In any case, while the NDPG will ultimately be finalized in the Government, as for the MOD, to be consistent with the stance of Japan, we stress making the overview of the SDF visible, especially to our neighboring countries. Accordingly, we believe that securing transparency is very important to avert criticism from other countries of not being transparent in reference to the NDPG.

(End)

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