Press Conference

Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister Nakatani(10:56-11:03 P.M. January 8, 2016)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 10:56-11:03 P.M. January 8, 2016
Place: 1st floor lobby of Building A, 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:
Please give us the results of the Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan-U.S. teleconferences.

Minister:
I held teleconferences today with ROK Defense Minister Han Minkoo from 9:40 P.M. and with U.S. Defense Secretary Carter from 10:15 P.M. With regard to the conference with Minister Han Minkoo, I stated that the nuclear test conducted by North Korea the other day (January 6) is clearly in violation of the related UN Security Council resolutions and that Japan firmly denounces it. I then stated that in response to North Korea's nuclear test, it is important that there is collaboration and close cooperation between Japan and the ROK, and between Japan, the United States, and the ROK, including the utilization of the Japan-U.S.-ROK Information Sharing Arrangement. In response, Minister Han stated that the fourth nuclear test by North Korea is a serious act of provocation that threatens not only stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula but also on a global level, and that united efforts against this by the international community are important. Minister Han and I also agreed to continue to cooperate closely through a variety of frameworks. Following this, with regard to the teleconference with U.S. Defense Secretary Carter, Secretary Carter and I agreed on the understanding that this nuclear test by North Korea is clearly in violation of the related UN Security Council resolutions and that we firmly denounce it, and reconfirmed that possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea can in no way be allowed. Then, Defense Secretary Carter and I agreed to respond firmly under the Japan-U.S. Alliance, and also agreed that Japan and the United States would continue to share information, utilizing among other things the Alliance Coordination Mechanism (ACM), and collaborate closely with regard to our response going forward. We also confirmed that we would further strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance based on the new Guidelines, while Secretary Carter reaffirmed the commitment to defend Japan by using every means. Furthermore, I told him that I had held a teleconference with Minister Han and confirmed that Japan and the ROK would also collaborate closely with each other, and Secretary Carter responded that this was a very desirable thing. In addition, this morning, we held a teleconference between Japan, the United States, and the ROK at the director general level to share information regarding the nuclear test. We agreed to continue to collaborate and cooperate closely while sharing information on the nuclear threat. Thus, the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea together with the reinforcement of its ballistic missile capabilities, as well as pronouncements from North Korea and the like, comprise a serious and imminent threat to the safety of our country and in no way can be allowed. We believe that it is important with regard to dealing with North Korea to collaborate closely and consult fully between Japan and the United States, between Japan and the ROK, and between Japan, the United States, and the ROK, and make a united response. We are reinforcing this collaboration through the teleconferences on this occasion.

Question:
Regarding cooperation between Japan and the ROK, did you renew the call for GSOMIA?

Minister:
In the Japan-U.S.-ROK information and other cooperation on this occasion, exchange and sharing of information and the like have been conducted, including the holding of the Japan-U.S.-ROK Defense Trilateral Talks (DTT). But the importance of this information sharing is further growing going forward, and it is necessary, so I intend to use opportunities to seek action on GSOMIA as well going forward.

Question:
Regarding the utilization of the Alliance Coordination Mechanism, how should I visualize this with regard to the North Korean issue?

Minister:
This is an alliance coordination mechanism from peacetime to emergencies, and it has already been activated. Therefore, it is a venue for consultations and coordination of views to coordinate between Japan and the United States at each level, and at each tier during peacetime. The core element consists of the consultations between counterparts at, for example, the director general, division director, and ministerial levels.

Question:
Is my understanding correct that it is being conducted as a matter of routine regarding this issue?

Minister:
Yes.

Question:
Is it being utilized in this case as well?

Minister:
Yes.

Question:
Is the mechanism between the SDF-not the Internal Bureau but the SDF-and the U.S. forces also being used? Is it being used in this case as well?

Minister:
I would like to refrain from responding on the state of specific coordination and the like, given the relationship with the U.S. side and the nature of the matter. But we are conducting close information sharing and collaboration including this issue, utilizing this ACM on this occasion as well.

Question:
Today, the Japanese Government expressed the view that it is unlikely to have been a normal hydrogen bomb. Did you share that understanding with the ROK in the telephone consultation?

Minister:
We shared our respective views and information.

Question:
Did you go into this more deeply, such as that it is unlikely to have been a hydrogen bomb?

Minister:
I would like to refrain from answering the question since this concerns confidential matters regarding information.

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