The following is the excerpt from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy speech on diplomacy and national security in an ordinary Diet session on Monday.
Strengthening of Japan’s defense capabilities
I will take specific actions under the strong Japan-U.S. alliance to prepare for every possible contingency amid escalating provocations from North Korea. Under close cooperation between Japan and the U.S., I will protect the people’s lives and peaceful living in any situation by maintaining a high level of alert.
Our own efforts serve as the basis of the national security policy. I will look squarely to the reality of the security environment that is becoming increasingly severe and beef up our defense capabilities through steps such as introducing Aegis Ashore batteries and standoff missiles.
I will also review the National Defense Program Guidelines toward the end of this year. Based on the premise that our exclusively defense-oriented posture will remain intact, I will calibrate what defense capabilities are truly needed to protect our citizens, instead of just following precedent.
Deterrence capability of Japan-U.S. alliance
The Japan-U.S. alliance has been, is, and will be the cornerstone of our country’s diplomacy and national security.
I have held summit meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump more than 20 times, including telephone conferences. We will stand together against various global challenges under a relationship of personal trust.
At the end of last month, 4,000 hectares of the Northern Training Area in Okinawa were returned to the landowners more than 70 years after the end of the war. It was the largest land return on Okinawa since its reversion to Japan.
As for the Status of U.S. Forces Agreement (SOFA), we have signed two supplementary agreements regarding the environment and the civilian component of U.S. forces in Japan for the first time.
I will continue to stay faithful to the feelings of the people of Okinawa and make my utmost efforts to mitigate the burden of hosting bases while maintaining the deterrence capability of the Japan-U.S. alliance. It goes without saying that ensuring safety is a basic premise for flying U.S. military aircraft. I will continue to strongly urge the U.S. to give utmost consideration to safety and minimize repercussions on local residents.
We have to achieve the full return of Futenma airfield, which is surrounded by schools and houses and often called the most dangerous base in the world, as soon as possible. I will push forward Futenma relocation to a coastal area of the Henoko district in Nago City according to the ruling of the Supreme Court. The relocation is limited to only one of the three base functions and moves aircraft flight paths to above the ocean. So the safety will improve dramatically and soundproofing, which was necessary for more than ten thousand houses in Futenma, will become zero. The Abe cabinet will achieve results one by one for alleviating Okinawa’s base-hosting burden under a relationship of trust with the U.S.