Press Conferences

Press Conference by Defense Minister Inada (08:36-08:40 A.M. January 27, 2017)

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 08:36-08:40 A.M. January 27, 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
First of all, I will announce the results of the SDF's activities related to the avian influenza outbreak in Miyazaki Prefecture. On January 24, the MOD/SDF started implementing epidemic prevention measures concerning the avian influenza outbreak in response to the governor of Miyazaki's request for disaster relief. Yesterday, January 26, all activities were terminated following the governor of Miyazaki's request for the termination of the activities. The 43rd Infantry Regiment implemented the slaughter of birds, transportation and burial of the dead birds, and disinfection and cleanup of poultry houses. A total of around 550 personnel and around 105 vehicles were involved in the activities. As there is the risk of a future avian influenza outbreak in regions other than the one where the latest outbreak occurred, we will cooperate closely with relevant ministries and agencies with a sense of alertness and promptly and appropriately respond again should an outbreak occur. The number of slaughtered birds is about 163,000.

2. Questions and Answers

Question:
It was announced that U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis will visit Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Could you tell me about the status of scheduling arrangements for the Japan-U.S. defense ministerial meeting? Also, President Trump has called for an increase in expenditures for the stationing of the U.S. Forces in Japan, and Secretary Mattis is also expected to make a similar call. How will you respond?

Minister:
First, while he is scheduled to visit Japan and the ROK next week, from February 1 to 4, the specific schedule of the defense ministerial meeting is being arranged now. In any case, that Secretary Mattis will come very early after the inauguration of the new administration is an indication of the United States' stance of placing emphasis on Asia, so this visit will be very significant. I would like to use this occasion to share the recognition of the security environment surrounding Japan. Also, although I do not have any prejudgment about specifically what will be discussed, I would like to engage in a frank exchange of opinions with him about various matters and deepen and strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance, as you mentioned.

Question:
Is the Government considering sending a clear message that Japan is not thinking of bearing additional expenditures?

Minister:
I would like to refrain from guessing with prejudgment specifically what will be proposed, but as I have repeatedly mentioned, I will firmly assert Japan's position.

Question:
This weekend, Nishinoomote City's mayoral election will be held. Nishinoomote City faces the issue of an SDF facility in Mage Island. Do you expect that the results of this election will somehow affect the SDF?

Minister:
I am not in a position to comment on the situation of the election. There will be no change in our stance of ensuring Japan's defense regardless of the election results.

Question:
Yesterday, Prime Minister Abe expressed an intention to consider the capability to lodge attacks against an adversary's bases. Could you share your thoughts on that, and will the MOD conduct a study?

Minister:
At the moment, Japan does not possess equipment intended for attacks against an adversary's bases. Nor does it have a plan to do so. However, as the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe, I believe it is natural to keep ourselves fully prepared in accordance with the situation.

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