Press Conference

Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister Nakatani(10:35-10:45 A.M. November 20, 2015 (Japan time))

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 10:35-10:45 A.M. November 20, 2015 (Japan time)
Place: In front of the main gate of ASC North
(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:
In the bilateral talk with Premier Jay Weatherill, did you mention submarine specifically?

Minister:
In the talk with Premier Weatherill, I mentioned the strategic importance of the cooperation in the field of submarine and the credibility of Japan's technology of submarine, and stated that we would examine and deal with all options of construction including the three options. In response to this, Premier Weatherwill mentioned supply chain, which means that he requested us to focus on the participation and maximization of local defense industry. With this in mind, I stated that Japan would make the best proposal about the three options of construction, and that the leader of Japanese company team has already conducted the meetings with approximately 40 local companies of South Australia State. In addition, I expressed that I certainly believe that if Japan was chosen as a partner, local companies would be able to take part in all of phases from design to sustainment and maintenance. Also, I stated that if Japan was chosen as a partner, it would be possible for Japan and South Australia to cooperate with each other not only in field of submarines but also in wide range of industrial fields, which in turn contributes to maintain peace and stability of the region. In response to this, Premier Weatherill stated that recently Japan is improving its explanations on the cooperation in the field of submarine, and that if Japan was selected, he would like to cooperate with it. After that, I exchanged opinions with Governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le AO, on the cooperation in the field of submarine. In the opinion exchange, I mentioned Japan's cooperation, and the possibility that Japan can cooperate with Australia and South Australia State not only in the field of defense but also in wide range of fields. In the end, we agreed with the recognition that it is significant to expand business relationship not only in the field of defense but also in wide range of fields. In addition, the Governor stated that since Japan receives high reputation on the technology and workmanship, he expects that the cooperation on submarine would link to economic cooperation in wide range of fields.

Question:
What would you like to achieve during your visit to Australia this time?

Minister:
First of all, I would like to grasp the present situation of the local factories by visiting there. Moreover, I would like to hear opinions and requests from the local people and consider what Japan side can deal with.

Question:
Please allow me to ask a different point. As for the activities in the South China Sea, Japan-U.S. summit talk was held in the Philippines yesterday. Prime Minister Abe stated that he would like to examine what the SDF can do. What would Japan consider specifically?

Minister:
First of all, securing the freedom of navigation and the freedom of flight over the high seas is of extreme importance. I believe it is important that international society work together to secure open, free, and peaceful waters. So far, Japan has been conducting activities that would contribute to stability in the region, such as capacity building assistance, joint trainings, etc. to countries surrounding the South China Sea, and we would like to promote bilateral and multilateral joint exercises and trainings in the future. At this time, we are not planning any specific plan or any ongoing surveillance activities or any plan to conduct surveillance activities. I believe it is a matter that should be continued examining thoroughly by considering its impact on Japan's security.

Question:
If the case like the one took place in Paris happened in Japan, what kind of activity the SDF would conduct?

Minister:
The police and the fire authority would deal with it primarily, and the SDF would cope with it according to the forms of terrorism. Especially in the case of terrorism using nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, the SDF would measure doses of radiation, residents' evacuation, or decontamination according to the deployment for disaster relief or protection of people. However, in these cases the SDF needs to conduct joint trainings or cooperation with the police or the Japan Coast Guard.

Question:
Would you give us Japan's confidence in regard to its capability to build state-of-art submarines?

Minister:
It comes with three proposals. The first proposal is to build in Australia, the second one is to build in Japan, and the last one is hybrid, which means building in both countries. All of these proposals will be made, and we intend to propose the best ones. In any option, we believe that participation of local companies is essential from the beginning. In this regard, I am confident that it has huge advantages for both Japan and Australia. In terms of capability, Japan is able to build the world's largest conventional submarines of excess 4000 tons, which has blue-water capability. At the same time, Japan is the only country, in which operates them, in the world. Also, Japan has built over 50 of conventional submarines in the past 60 years without any delay in delivery and inferior quality. As we have such records, Japan has capability to build excellent submarines at lower risk.

Question:
Do you have any opinions on which option will be selected among three options?

Minister:
There is no change to be made in currently-proposed ones. We would like to respond to all three options.

Question:
In the meeting with Premier Jay Weatherill of South Australia, you talked about strategic importance. I understand that three options were discussed. What kind of conversation did you have regarding the strategic importance?

Minister:
Japan and Australia are maritime nations, and freedom of navigation is necessary for prosperity and stability for the two countries. With regard to such point, the two countries have proceeded with collaboration in security field. I stated that cooperation in such maritime filed does not only mean equipment cooperation but also has strategic importance, which putting importance on such collaborations between Japan and Australia as well as Japan, the United States, and Australia.

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