Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister Eto(09:14-09:18 A.M. October 21, 2014)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 09:14-09:18 A.M. October 21, 2014
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
I would like to inform you on a dispatch of a liaison officer to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). In response to Ebola, Japan has been extending various supports as a member of the international community, closely communicating with the U.S. side. During the phone call between the Prime Minister and the U.S. President on October 15, both sides agreed to closely coordinate in order to respond to the matter. From the perspective of strengthening the coordination with the U.S. side, we decided to have five MOD officials make an official business trip to the headquarters of AFRICOM in Germany including one ASDF Major who will stay there to work as a liaison officer. That is all from me.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
I would like to ask the purpose of sending a liaison officer. Also, I would like to ask your prospect on what the SDF can do in the future.

Minister:
I believe primary purpose would be to go there and thoroughly collect information. We are not at all considering how we will dispatch the SDF at the moment.

Question:
It was decided to extend the SDF operations in South Sudan at the Cabinet meeting today. The SDF activities in South Sudan became limited for a certain time due to the deteriorated security situation. What is the significance of extending the SDF activities?

Minister:
The situation in South Sudan is currently very stable. We decided to extend the activities considering requests from United Nations and others. The SDF will continue making efforts there as it is very significant to maintain the security situation in South Sudan and to carry out Peace Keeping Operations.

Question:
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Obuchi and Minister of Justice Matsushima both resigned yesterday. Was your seat next to that of Mrs. Obuchi in the Cabinet meeting?

Minister:
No, it was not.

Question:
I am sorry for the mistake. Your waiting room was adjacent to Ms. Obuchi's. Ms. Obuchi and Ms. Matsushima both quit their respective posts. What are your thoughts on the impact that their resignation will have on the Abe Administration?

Minister:
I cannot say that there will be no damage whatsoever. However, as the Abe Administration is faced with various domestic and international challenges, we needs to band together and take steady approaches to them.

Question:
As for the Ebola epidemic, you stated that you are not currently considering how you will dispatch the SDF. Do you think that there is a possibility that the SDF troops will be sent to East Africa to engage in missions such as medical support?

Minister:
I cannot tell you anything definitive at present. First of all, information gathering by those who will be sent soon is of prime importance, and a liaison officer will continue stationing while we are considering dispatching another personnel if possible. Under such circumstances, we will firmly collect information while seeking what kind of cooperation we can make with the U.S. and other countries.

Question:
How long will the personnel be dispatched?

Minister:
We do not have a concrete plan yet, but I suppose that it will be a long-term dispatch.

(End)

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