Press Conferences

Extra Press Conference by Defense Minister Inada (02:57-03:04 P.M. November 2, 2016)

Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date:02:57-03:04 P.M. November 2, 2016
Place: Auditorium, 2F, building of 3rd Air Wing at ASDF Misawa Air Base

(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:
You visited Misawa Air Base today and attended the ceremony concerning the joint exercise between Japan and the United Kingdom. Could you share your comments on that and tell me how you intend to promote the Japan-U.K. defense cooperation in the future?

Minister:
At this time, the Typhoon of the United Kingdom came to Misawa Air Base, marking the fighter’s first appearance in Japan. This is the first joint exercise, so it is very significant. In particular, this has been realized within one year after the idea of conducting a joint exercise was discussed at the 2+2 meeting in January this year. It is very significant in terms of ensuring the rule of law in the Asia-Pacific region that the defense cooperation between Japan and the United Kingdom is making progress and that the United Kingdom, with which Japan shares values, is firmly demonstrating its presence in this region.

Question:
There has been no apparent protest movement in the local community around the base, but some people are watching this with mixed feelings and there are also voices of concern that this may become routine. This time, the exercise was conducted on a one-off basis, but is there any plan to conduct a similar exercise with the United Kingdom in Misawa or elsewhere? Also, is there the possibility that an arrangement like this will be extended to cooperation with other countries? Please tell me about your thoughts on future plans.

Minister:
The security situation surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe, and more than anything, it is significant to work together with and promote defense cooperation with countries with which Japan shares values in order to ensure the rule of international law. I feel strongly encouraged that the SDF of Japan and the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom are assiduously engaging in training at Misawa Air Base in this exercise. Having said that, no decision has been made on anything specific, such as whether a similar joint exercise with the United Kingdom will be conducted at Misawa Air Base on a regular basis or whether a similar exercise will be conducted elsewhere in Japan. As you mentioned just now, Misawa Air Base is maintaining a very good relationship with the local community. I believe that we should proceed with various matters while obtaining cooperation from local residents.

Question:
Changing the subject, the United Nations compiled a report concerning South Sudan, which mentions that the PKO unit that was being deployed at the time failed in dealing with the attack launched at the time of the large-scale clash in July.

Minister:
What is it that the unit failed in dealing with?

Question:
The PKO unit failed in dealing with the attack at the time of the large-scale clash in July, according to the report. Specifically, the report points out a lack of leadership and insufficient preparations. There has been a media report that the commander of the UNMISS will be dismissed. Could you share your comments on that? Also, is it possible that this will somehow affect the assignment of new tasks, on which a final decision will be made soon?

Minister:
First, I assume that you are referring to the incident of violence at a hotel that occurred during the armed clash in July. Concerning this case, a special investigation has been conducted, and a media report said that a report has been issued. However, I have not yet read the whole of the report, so I would like to refrain from commenting on that here. Having said that, concerning the PKO in South Sudan, the conditions for Japan’s five principles of PKO participation are being maintained as I mentioned the other day. In addition, it is true that the international community and the South Sudanese government are placing high expectations on the SDF’s presence and that the SDF is conducting significant activities while ensuring its personnel’s safety. Therefore, we have decided to extend the SDF deployment. As to whether or not we should also assign new tasks, the Government as a whole will make the decision from a comprehensive perspective in light of the prospects for stable consent required by the law and the SDF’s training proficiency.

Question:
Returning to the Japan-U.K. relationship, I understand that the two countries are in agreement on accelerating the negotiations to conclude the Japan-U.K. ACSA. What are the prospects for the conclusion of the ACSA?

Minister:
I have heard that substantial progress has been made in the ACSA negotiations, and the ACSA negotiations will be continued further.

Question:
Concerning North Korea, a U.S. media report said that there were signs that the Musudan intermediate ballistic missile may be launched within 72 hours. What is your perception of the current situation?

Minister:
I am aware of the media report about that. However, because of the nature of this matter, I would like to refrain from making comments. In any case, following the recent failed launch of two missiles, North Korea is preparing more launches, and it has also been continuously showing eagerness about nuclear tests and miniaturization of nuclear warheads, so we will continue to gather information with a sense of alertness and make appropriate responses.

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