Yamaguchi calls on Def. Ministry to prevent future cover-ups

July 29 , 2017

Yamaguchi speaking to the press on Jul. 28Yamaguchi speaking to the press on Jul. 28

On August 28, Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi fielded questions from the press at the National Diet over the outcome of a special audit by the Defense Ministry regarding the controversial cover-up of daily reports submitted by Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) peacekeepers deployed in South Sudan and the subsequent resignation of Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada. The following is a summary of his statements:

As to the results of the special audit, Yamaguchi said that in spite of the limits posed by virtue of it being an internal investigation, it did serve its purpose. It exposed the misunderstanding and doubt caused by the daily reports, he noted, and facilitated the reprimand of the GSDF peacekeepers and Defense Ministry officials involved, and bringing about a strategy to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future. To that degree, he said, it was a success.

Concerning Defense Minister Inada’s resignation, Yamaguchi commented that she, along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—who appointed her to the post—and the Defense Ministry were all accountable to some degree and took responsibility for the debacle.

When asked about the immediate government response, Yamaguchi clarified that given the current dangers posed by North Korea and its nuclear missile tests, any interruption in the work of the Defense Ministry should be not be tolerated. Thus, it is only natural that Prime Minister Abe has temporarily conferred the responsibilities of the Defense Minister to Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to strengthen measures to safeguard Japan’s national security. What is most important now, he said, is to restore public trust by tightening control and leadership over the Defense Ministry and GSDF.