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SecDef Cohen Media Availability with Japanese Officials

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
September 14, 1998

Let me welcome the distinguished members of the DIET. We, of course, have been disturbed by the recent tests on part of the North Koreans. Any threat to Japan's security is also a threat to America. So, we intend to work very closely with our strong allies in dealing with this particular issue. We hope that we can cooperate on theater missile defense issues, exchange information and perhaps cooperate in other ways. But we are determined to continue this very strong relationship we have with Japan and to deal with security issues effectively.

Q: Secretary Cohen are you going to seek to increase the Pentagon's budget to deal with readiness problems?

A: Well, it's a bit premature to discuss that at this point. We're looking at all of the readiness issues to make a determined effort to get around to many of our facilities. We'll continue to do so and examine ways in which whatever deficiencies exist in our readiness can be addressed and we'll be taking this issue up with the President and the Congress in the coming months.

Q: Are these problems that need to be addressed originally?

A: They need to be addressed. We have forces that are ready. We have forces at the tip of the spear, so to speak, be they in Korea, the Gulf or anywhere else, that are fully capable of carrying out their mission. Whatever deficiencies exist, we think, can be addressed.

Q: Do you have the same level of confidence in President Clinton following the Starr report?

A: I believe the President is capable of carrying out his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief, yes.

Q: Thank you Mr. Secretary.

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