Press Conferences

Press Conference by Defense Minister Inada (09:35-09:40 A.M. January 24, 2017)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 09:35-09:40 A.M. January 24, 2017
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
None

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
President Trump has taken office. Mr. Trump is advocating the principle of "America First." Could you tell me once again what you think of that?

Minister:
I listened to his inaugural speech live. My impression is that he made clear again the principle of "America First" and the stance of emphasizing national interests, which he was advocating throughout the election campaign period. Having said that, since the Japan-U.S. Alliance is the centerpiece of Japan's defense policy, as I have repeatedly mentioned, I would like to firmly assert Japan's position.

Question:
I would like to ask you about amakudari (which means that senior civil servants retire to join organizations linked with or under the jurisdiction of their ministries or agencies when they reach mandatory retirement age) at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Technology and Science. The Prime Minister instructed all ministries and agencies to conduct investigations. Could you explain the MOD's approach to that once again?

Minister:
While I was Minister in charge of Civil Service Reform before serving as chairperson of the Policy Research Council, I established the Bureau of Personnel Affairs, and later, I served as Minister in charge of Civil Service Affairs. Therefore, I will ensure thorough awareness about the intent of the rules concerning amakudari and investigate the current situation while appropriately cooperating with the Bureau of Personnel Affairs.

Question:
Regarding the heavy snow in Tottori, a request for disaster relief was made. Could you tell me about the SDF's current response status?

Minister:
Since yesterday, there has been heavy snowfall in wide areas of the northern parts of the Chugoku and Kinki regions. In response to the Tottori governor's request for disaster relief, the SDF plans to conduct activity. At 4:10 a.m., January 24, the Tottori governor's request for disaster relief was received by the Commander of the GSDF 8th Infantry Regiment. At 4:53 a.m., around 25 personnel and five vehicles of the Fast-Force of the 8th Infantry Regiment departed from the camp, and at 6:55 a.m., the Fast-Force of the 13th Tank Company departed from the camp. Regarding the specific activities, we are consulting with the local government. When the request for disaster relief was received, refueling was planned to be provided to vehicles stuck on Route 53, but that problem has now been resolved. While placing the top priority on rescue activity, we will make full use of the capabilities possessed by the SDF in light of the local government's specific needs.

Question:
Going back to Mr. Trump's speech, concerns over a possible request for increasing expenditures, including for the stationing of the U.S. Forces in Japan, have apparently not been dispelled. What are your thoughts on that?

Minister:
Concerning that point, we should not have prejudgment about specifically what he may say. As I have repeatedly mentioned, the stationing of the U.S. Forces in Japan and their deployment in Asia are beneficial not only for Japan but also for the United States, so from that perspective, I will firmly assert Japan's position.

Question:
According to a media report, the Government is considering revising the National Defense Program Guidelines. Could you tell me the facts about that?

Minister:
First, the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe, and I recognize that last year, the threat from North Korean nuclear weapons and missiles entered a new stage. Therefore, we must constantly review whether the current defense architecture is sufficient, but it is not true that the Government is considering revising the National Defense Program Guidelines at the moment.

Question:
On Sunday, Miyakojima City's mayoral election was held and votes were counted. The result was reelection of the incumbent mayor. What do you think the result of this election means with respect to the deployment of the GSDF?

Minister:
As we must resolve the lack of SDF presence in the southwestern region, deploying a security unit in Miyakojima is important in that sense. Regarding that point, we will proceed with the deployment while seeking local residents' understanding, as critical opinions have also been expressed.

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