Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister Eto(08:21-08:24 A.M. October 7, 2014)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 08:21-08:24 A.M. October 7, 2014
Place: Entrance to 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
At the Cabinet meeting today, the Cabinet approved the submission to the Diet of a bill to partially amend the Act on Remuneration, etc. of Ministry of Defense Personnel, and a bill on special measures concerning the term of obligatory assurance of national subsidization for specific defense procurement (provisional translation). Also, the Cabinet approved the appointment of four general officers including the Chief of the Joint Staff, taking effect on October 14, 2014. In addition, a personnel change will take place on the same date involving one general and two major generals. That is all from me.

2. Questions and Answers

I have a question concerning the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. What is the purpose of preparing the interim report on the review of the guidelines now, given that security legislation is still far from being completed? Could you explain once again the significance of issuing the interim report?

First, we are preparing the interim report to gain the understanding of people both domestically and internationally. Second, by preparing the interim report, we are assuring consistency between new security legislation, which is currently in preparation, and the guidelines. We hope to encourage people to understand such activities through the interim report.

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense visited the Saga Prefectural Government. Could you comment on that?

I was briefed that the Senior Vice-Minister received requests from Saga Prefecture yesterday, and we intend to seriously consider those requests. At the same time, we are hoping that Saga Prefecture will accept our request to station the SDF's new tilt-rotor aircraft to be acquired and helicopters currently in commission at Saga Airport, and to host training of the U.S. forces' Ospreys in order to mitigate the impact of military bases on Okinawa. We will sincerely consider the requests from Saga Prefecture on this front and take proper actions.

Are you considering having a talk with the Saga Prefecture side in person?

I would like to visit the prefectural government as much as possible while considering my obligation in the ongoing Diet session. Besides my intention to visit the prefecture, I am hoping that the Senior Vice-Minister will continue to visit there several more times.

According to a press report, the Australian defense minister is visiting Japan in mid-October to hold a talk with you. The press report also indicated that the two countries are expecting to reach an agreement to initiate discussion on the joint development of submarine technologies. Is this a fact?

I am aware of the press report. We do wish to hold various talks with the Australian side to discuss approaches to further develop defense cooperation between the two countries, but we have not decided anything specific like indicated in the press report. Thank you.