Press Conferences

Press Conference by Defense Minister Inada (08:48-08:53 A.M. November 22, 2016)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 08:48-08:53 A.M. November 22, 2016
Place: Entrance of 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
At around 5:59 a.m. today, an earthquake with a maximum seismic intensity of 5 lower occurred in an area off Fukushima Prefecture as its epicenter. However, as of now, there has been no request for disaster relief operations by the MOD/SDF. At the moment, we are using personnel and a total of eight aircraft to implement ground and air reconnaissance in the coastal area of Fukushima Prefecture. In addition, we have dispatched liaison personnel to the governments of Fukushima, Aomori and Iwate Prefectures and are gathering information in cooperation with the local governments. I issued the following instructions concerning this earthquake: make sure to gather information and save and rescue any affected people through air and ground reconnaissance, dispatch of liaison personnel and cooperation with local governments, and implement activities while keeping in mind the possibility of tsunami waves and aftershocks occurring. The MOD/SDF will continue to strive to gather information by implementing air and ground reconnaissance and take appropriate actions to protect the Japanese people's lives and property. That is all I have to say.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
A media report has said that you will visit Guam next month in order to inspect the THAAD Ground-Based Interceptors. Could you tell me about the current status of consideration of such a visit and whether the MOD will consider deploying this system?

Minister:
In light of the current situation surrounding Japan, I believe it is important to ensure missile defense. As for your question, no specific plan for a visit to Guam has been fixed for now. Having said that, we are conducting surveys and research on a future ballistic missile defense system, but at the moment, there is no specific plan for introducing new equipment such as the THAAD missile. We will conduct further surveys and research and actively consider how to enhance Japan's ballistic missile defense capability.

Question:
Concerning the latest earthquake, while the MOD is apparently implementing air and ground reconnaissance, have you received any information concerning the damage?

Minister:
At the moment, I am not aware of any information indicating the presence of damage.

Question:
Tsunami warnings have also been issued. Have you obtained any information indicating the arrival of a tsunami?

Minister:
At the moment, we have not obtained information concerning major tsunami.

Question:
Regarding GSOMIA, a media report in the Republic of Korea (ROK) has said it will be signed tomorrow. What is the current status?

Minister:
At a consultation meeting held on November 14, the heads of the negotiating delegations reached a substantive agreement and a provisional signing took place. As for the specific timing of the official signing, we are striving to enable the signing as soon as possible.

Question:
Was any action taken at today's Cabinet meeting?

Minister:
As the timing is being negotiated, we will strive to enable the signing as soon as possible.

Question:
Could you explain the significance of GSOMIA once again? What effects do you expect from the signing of GSOMIA?

Minister:
I expect that by prescribing the principles for protecting classified military information, the agreement will ensure adequate protection of information exchanged between the governments of the two countries, making it possible for the government of Japan and the ROK to exchange information more smoothly and promptly.

Question:
What was discussed about the tsunami and earthquake at the Cabinet meeting?

Minister:
Nothing more than I mentioned earlier was discussed at the Cabinet meeting.

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