Armitage Answers Reporters' Questions After Meeting Japanese Leaders

Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage
Remarks to the Press Following Meetings
Tokyo, October 13, 2004

QUESTION: Thank you for your time. After the series of talks with the Japanese ruling parties, are you optimistic about getting a concrete blueprint about U.S. military forces in Japan?

ARMITAGE: I found that both our Japanese colleagues here, as well as my American colleagues, are very well informed on the results of the discussions between Prime Minister Koizumi and President Bush in New York. As I have said, both sides have been given their marching orders and I'm quite satisfied that together we'll be able to find a very amiable solution that does three things. As Prime Minister Koizumi wanted, it will accelerate the process of transformation. With the agreement of President Bush, it will enhance deterrence, as well as will reduce the burden on the people of Japan. Those are our orders, and we'll follow them and I have found a good spirit here.

QUESTION: Foreign Minister Machimura said he wants to have some kind of blueprint by the end of this year. Do you think it is possible?

ARMITAGE: Oh, it's quite possible. I don't know if we will make that, but that's a good goal to have. I'll be speaking to the foreign minister later this evening and I'm sure he will repeat that to me and I'll carry the message back to Washington very faithfully.

QUESTION: At the present moment, as for U.S. Marine Forces in Okinawa, which is the stronger possibility - staying somewhere in Japan or going abroad?

ARMITAGE: That's a discussion you will have to ask my military colleagues. That's something that they are going to want to first talk about with the representatives of the Government of Japan. I think the last thing we want to do is talk about that in front of the mass media. It's something we need to talk about with our colleagues here.

QUESTION: As for SACO, Special Action Committee for Okinawa, I have to say that the activities are a little bit slow. How do you push it forward?

ARMITAGE: I spoke earlier today at a press conference at the U.S. Embassy and was asked a question by Mr. Suzuki of NHK [TV Asahi] and I expressed that - my own view is - he said some people say the SACO process is not doing what it was supposed to do. I reminded him that years ago, when we had the SACO process originally, many of the mass media saluted it and said how wonderful it was. My own view is we ought to accelerate it.

QUESTION: Thank you. Part of training sessions of U.S. Marine Forces in Okinawa is now training in Australia, I understand.

ARMITAGE: Yes, Australia and other places.

QUESTION: Do you have any plans to enlarge the volume of training sessions over there?

ARMITAGE: Well, I can't say that. I'll tell you we don't have, as far as I understand, any desire to increase the volume of training in Japan. So, thank you very much.

QUESTION: ... North Korea was discussed today ...

ARMITAGE: Oh yes. I discussed it in a number of different locations. I haven't seen any movement on North Korea. I've described what I see as their unwillingness to meet in the six-party talks until after our Presidential election - at least it appears that way. I think they've made a miscalculation, but that's theirs to make. Along with our Japanese colleagues and South Korea friends, Chinese and Russian colleagues, we'll be patient. When the North Koreans are ready to talk, we're ready to talk. So, thank you all very much.