Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister Nakatani(08:30-08:36 A.M. January 19, 2016)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 08:30-08:36 A.M. January 19, 2016
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:
I have a question in connection with the presidential election in Taiwan. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the election. As they stated that "Taiwan's democratic system must be respected," what is your thought on the victory of the DPP that keeps a distance from China? Regarding the South China Sea, they said it "should be solved through international law." Their words seem to restrain China. What is your view on this?

Minister:
Japan and Taiwan share basic values and enjoy close economic relationship. Taiwan is an important partner and an old friend through people exchange and the like. At this time, their leader has been elected through an election that is a democratic method and consists of free discussions. I would like to genuinely express my congratulations. I expect that Japan and Taiwan will continue being in a good relationship and that cooperation will be further developed. The South China Sea is a very important matter of concern in light of freedom of navigation and ensuring safety on sea lanes. We deem that it is important for the international community to have cooperation to protect open, free, and peaceful seas. In that regard, we would like to cooperate with each country for peace and stability of this region.

Question:
How do you perceive a matter that Taiwanese side forestalled China?

Minister:
The South China Sea is the high seas. The basic principles based on international law include freedom navigation and open seas, and it is important to ensure these principles.

Question:
Official campaigning for the Ginowan mayoral election in Okinawa commenced. A stance on the relocation of MCAS Futenma to Henoko is divided into pros and cons between the incumbent and the non-incumbent. Would you please share your views on this election's impact on future relocation matter?

Minister:
This is a local election. Respective candidates have their campaign pledges of future of Ginowan City and are running in the election. Local voters will make decisions based on these pledges. It is not for me to say this or that. I perceive that this is a local matter and a decision will be made in the city. As there is MCAS Futenma, the Government has been earnestly making efforts in order to make Futenma a safe place as quickly as possible. It has taken many years, so the Government has been working to make Futenma a safe place as early as possible with utmost effort.

Question:
I have a question regarding the first question, which is on President of Taiwan. What kind of the security and defense cooperation with Taiwan in the future do you consider and expect with the situation of South China Sea in mind?

Minister:
This is an issue of Japan. The Government of Japan considers this from the perspective of the security of sea lanes, or the peace and stability of the region.

Question:
Four months have passed since the Legislation for Peace and Security and security-related legislation was passed. Please share your views on the current process of preparation and the future issues relating to the enforcement?

Minister:
The purpose of the development of the Legislation is to enable seamless responses to any situations in light of increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan. Currently, we are examining the basic matters such as the rules of the SDF operations or regulations in detail within the MOD. As the purpose of the Legislation is to protect the lives and the peaceful livelihood of the people of Japan in any situations, we would like to make sure that the Legislation will function properly.

Question:
Last night, SMAP (the Japanese pop band) declared its continuation. Can you share your impression on this?

Minister:
As the proverb goes "After the storm comes a calm," I think all the people of Japan felt relieved to hear that SMAP got out of the crisis of dissolution.

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