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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, June 4, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am Osamu Fujimura, and I have been reappointed to the position of Chief Cabinet Secretary. I look forward to working with you all.

I would like to give an overview of the first Cabinet meeting. First, the basic policy was decided, as is shown in the material in front of you. You do not have the material? I will have the basic policy distributed to you shortly. Next, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made a statement concerning the prior designation of Cabinet Ministers who would serve as the acting Prime Minister pursuant to Article 9 of the Cabinet Act. The following Cabinet Ministers will serve as the acting Prime Minister according to the following order of precedence: first is Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada; second is myself, the Chief Cabinet Secretary; third is Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Tatsuo Kawabata; fourth is Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba; and fifth is Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano. With that, the first Cabinet meeting was concluded. Afterwards, the ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting were adjourned without any statements.


  • Appointment of the new Defense Minister from the private sector


REPORTER: In today's reshuffle, Mr. Satoshi Morimoto from the private sector was appointed as the Minister of Defense. The Prime Minister said in his press conference that Mr. Morimoto is very knowledgeable about defense and security policies. However, on the other hand, from the Democratic Party of Japan as well, there are also questions being raised from the perspective of civilian control regarding the appointment of a private citizen. What was the aim with Mr. Morimoto's appointment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe there is still a misunderstanding. First, as you mentioned civilian control just now, I would like to straighten out the facts. The Constitution of Japan specifies only that the Prime Minister and the majority of the Ministers of State shall be selected from the members of the Diet. I believe there is no problem at all with appointing a private citizen as the Minister of Defense. The Minister of Defense will manage the duties of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) pursuant to laws and ordinances. It is the Prime Minister who has the highest right of command of the SDF, and the Minister of Defense will be performing his duties in accordance with Cabinet decisions. Furthermore, SDF-related legislation and budgets are passed upon Diet deliberations. These are the so-called civilian control measures. Therefore, I believe there are no problems in terms of civilian control.


REPORTER: I understand your opinion about civilian control. However, there are also opinions being voiced from the opposition parties that, as the Minister of Defense is in a position to issue orders for destruction measures in response to North Korea's missile issue, for example, and to make other similar judgments, the line of responsibility will be clear if the Minister of Defense is an elected politician and that this would be favorable. What are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I personally do not really understand why that is favorable. As I stated a moment ago, there are no problems from the point of view of civilian control. (Abridged) In past examples, I am aware that in 1952, the head of the National Safety Agency, which was the predecessor of the predecessor of the Ministry of Defense - while it was a Minister of State position, Mr. Tokutaro Kimura from the private sector was appointed to this position.


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