Press Conferences

Extra Press Conference by Defense Minister Inada (05:39-05:44 P.M. January 18, 2017)

Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 05:39-05:44 P.M. January 18, 2017
Place: No. 2 Meeting Room, 1F, GSDF Camp Narashino Headquarters Building

(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:
Today, you inspected the 1st Airborne Brigade and the Special Operation Group. Could you share your comments on that?

Minister:
The 1st Airborne Brigade based at Camp Narashino has a history and tradition dating back more than 58 years. As the only airborne unit of the SDF, the brigade is engaging in hard training under very severe conditions on a routine basis and deserves to be called an elite unit without equal. I was strongly encouraged to observe its high morale and skills first hand.

Question:
Although this is not related to today's inspection, F-35Bs of the U.S. Marine Corps have just arrived at MCAS Iwakuni. Could you share your thoughts on what significance this has for Japan's defense?

Minister:
Concerning the arrival of F-35Bs of the U.S. Marine Corps at MCAS Iwakuni today, I believe that the deployment of F-35Bs in Japan indicates the United States' commitment to the Japan-U.S. Alliance. Deploying the most modern aircraft with the most advanced capabilities in Japan will strengthen the deterrence capability under the Japan-U.S. Alliance and contribute to the stability of Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.

Question:
Yesterday, there was an announcement concerning Cobra Gold, a multilateral exercise that will be conducted in Thailand from late this month. Could you tell me the significance of conducting Cobra Gold? Also, there are several exercises that need to be conducted under the Legislation for Peace and Security. Could you tell me why the SDF will conduct them at this time?

Minister:
The SDF will participate in Cobra Gold 17, which will be conducted in Thailand from January 24 to February 24. Among various training activities, the SDF will take part in anti-piracy training, a command post exercise related to support and cooperation with foreign military forces, an exercise of measures to rescue Japanese national overseas, and humanitarian and civilian assistance activities related to health and construction. Through these exercises, the SDF will strengthen the capabilities necessary for performing its tasks and promote mutual understanding and strengthen the relationship of trust with relevant countries. As for the Legislation for Peace and Security, there will also be an exercise related to the newly assigned tasks. Specifically, the command post exercise will include training concerning activities related to support activities and ship inspection operations based on the International Peace Support Act and a range of activities related to the measures to rescue Japanese nationals overseas. I believe that this is very significant for appropriately adapting the SDF to the new tasks and enabling cooperation and building relationships of trust with other countries.

Question:
I understand that a bill to revise the Act for Establishment of the Ministry of Defense will be submitted in the forthcoming Diet session in preparation for the establishment of the Ground Central Command. On the occasion of this inspection of the GSDF, could you explain the significance of the establishment of the Ground Central Command once again? Apart from that, as you intend to strengthen the joint operation of the GSDF, MSDF and ASDF, the need for the establishment of a permanent joint operation headquarters has already been pointed. Could you offer your thoughts on its need?

Minister:
This time, the Act for Establishment of the MOD will be revised to establish the Ground Central Command. In consideration of the risk of large-scale natural disasters and the increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan, it is necessary to enable joint operation across the whole of the SDF and integrated operation of GSDF units, rather than having GSDF armies operate individually. From this perspective, the establishment of the Ground Central Command is significant. As for the necessity of a permanent joint operation command, the importance of joint operation will continue to grow, as I mentioned earlier. While currently, a joint operation headquarters is established each time an emergency situation arises, we should carefully consider whether or not to establish a permanent joint operation headquarters and how it should be organized to ensure the most effective joint operation.

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