Press Conference

Press Conference by the Defense Minister Nakatani(09:42-09:46 A.M. January 26, 2016)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 09:42-09:46 A.M. January 26, 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
Two items were reported at the Cabinet meeting today. First, a Cabinet order for the provision of the effective date of the Act for Partial Revision of the Ministry of Defense Establishment Act, etc. was approved. Under this Cabinet order, the 9th Air Wing at the ASDF Naha Air Base will be established on January 31. In addition, it was decided that Camp Yonaguni of the GSDF would be established on March 28. Both are intended to strengthen the defense architecture in southwestern Japan in a visible manner. Secondly, the Cabinet Order for Partial Revision of the Order for Organization of the Ministry of Defense was adopted as a Cabinet decision. The MOD needs to carry out the Futenma Replacement Facility construction project with greater strength. In light of this, while we currently have the promotion team, the quota for the number of Defense Councilor of the Minister's Secretariat and other positions will be increased in order to increase the number of personnel, including team vice chief, project section chief, and acting construction section chief.

2.Questions and Answers

Question:
Exactly 20 days have passed since North Korea conducted a nuclear test. Can you please explain the status of the primary responses that the MOD is taking? In addition, there is talk about a meeting being held among the top uniformed personnel of Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Can you please also elaborate on this?

Minister:
The recent nuclear test by North Korea further advances its nuclear development, and poses a serious concern to Japan. Combined with the enhancement of North Korea's capabilities in missiles which could become means of delivery, the nuclear test constitutes a grave threat to Japan. While Japan continues to monitor North Korea's actions from peacetime, in preparation for unintended consequences, Japan will continue to take all possible measures to monitor North Korea's actions. Taking the test into account, Japan continues to make efforts to gather and analyze relevant information in close coordination with the United States and other countries. With regard to your other question about whether talks will be held among the top uniformed personnel of Japan, the United States, and the ROK, I am aware of the news reports you have referred to. However, nothing has been decided as of this moment in time. The three countries of Japan, the United States, and the ROK seize various opportunities to coordinate with each other from peacetime, and consider it important to address the variety of security issues, including the issue of North Korea. Taking the situation into consideration, including the recent nuclear test conducted by North Korea, I believe it is extremely meaningful for the three countries of Japan, the United States, and the ROK to deepen their coordination at a variety of levels, including at the level of top uniformed personnel, and demonstrate this domestically and internationally. Therefore, we will continue to work to strengthen the Japan-U.S.-ROK trilateral coordination.

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