Newly appointed Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said in a recent interview with the Mainichi Shimbun that she is eager to talk to Chinese and South Korean representatives amid growing concerns among Japan's neighbors over her view of history. Below are questions and answers from the interview.
Question: What do you think about growing concerns in countries like China and South Korea over your view of history?
Inada: I would like to push for more exchange (with the two countries) since it is extremely important that China and South Korea cooperate on security issues such as North Korea's nuclear missile development. It is also indispensable for Japan to develop a cooperative relationship with both China and South Korea for peace and stability in East Asia and the Pacific region. I'm willing to set up a forum for diplomatic meetings anytime. I believe that by having discussions, misunderstanding about me will be removed. I'd like to visit China when the opportunity arises.
Q: Will you be visiting Yasukuni Shrine?
Inada: This is essentially a spiritual matter. I will act in accordance with what is appropriate as a member of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Q: What is your view on history, such as on World War II?
Inada: I will not comment on my personal views, but my understanding matches the government's statement announced on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.
Q: How do you feel about being seen as a potential candidate for prime minister?
Inada: Every politician aspires to become the prime minister, but it's not a position you can rise to just by trying. It is something that requires ability, timing, connections and luck.
Q: What is your opinion on extending the term of the Liberal Democratic Party leader?
Inada: The longevity of the Abe administration is a public good, enhancing Japan's presence in the world. I'm thinking positively about it. We should hold discussions with the possibility of extension of the term in mind.
Q: What is your opinion on Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) engaging in rescue missions for civilians and foreign military personnel in remote places during U.N. peacekeeping operations, which will likely be allowed now under security legislation that went into effect in March?
Inada: First of all, I want to give a thorough explanation, especially to women, on the necessity of the legislation and tell them that it is not something destroying constitutionalism. With regard to rescue missions, we're training SDF troops and aim to thoroughly prepare a system to carry out missions with precision. (Interview by Akira Murao, Political News Department)