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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Escort Vessel Myoko

September 30, 2017

[Provisional translation]

Today I am very pleased to visit the Aegis-equipped Myoko, which conducts watches for North Korean ballistic missiles, and to have the opportunity to address you directly to encourage you as you diligently devote yourselves to your duties.

Captain Tsuyoshi Nose and all the crew members, and Self-Defense Force personnel working at Maihama, as Commander in Chief of the Self-Defense Forces, I am tremendously reassured seeing you truly dependable individuals.

Japan is now facing situations that can properly be called national crises, such as the outrageous acts of North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear tests.

The Self-Defense Forces fully grasped the movement of the missiles that were twice launched over Japanese territory from immediately after the launches occurred and took all possible preparations to ensure the safety of the Japanese people. This clearly demonstrated that Japan’s crisis management is seamless.

The government will at all times do its utmost towards crisis management and protect the lives and the property of the Japanese people from the North Korean threat. As the government acts as one in maintaining its high level of vigilance, you serving on the Myoko, who are charged with duties at the front line, are the key for Japan’s national defense. The success or failure of our defense against ballistic missiles falls on your shoulders.

Once you leave port, you are on the rough seas for over a month at a time. I am very proud of you, who never fail to be highly vigilant in an intensely challenging work environment as you concentrate fully on performing your duties, working single-mindedly for the Japanese people.

As Commander in Chief of the Self-Defense Forces, I express my sincere respect to each and every one of you.

I also wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to your families.

Against the backdrop of an increasingly severe security environment, we must squarely face the realities before us.

This place, Maihama, is an important place in defending Japan and in safeguarding the free and peaceful seas.

The security of Japan would not be possible without the activities undertaken by you here in Maihama, whose diverse and vital duties include warning and surveillance, minesweeping, logistical support, and personnel training.

Ahead of you, the raging seas continue to await you. But behind you, there will always be the Japanese people, who place their faith in you and rely on you.

I, and the Japanese people, will always stand with the SDF. I want you to perform the roles you should, each in your own capacity, keeping that pride and confidence well in mind.

I have great expectations for your active engagement going forward.
Shinzo Abe
Commander-in-Chief of the Japan Self-Defense Forces
Prime Minister of Japan
September 30, 2017

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