Defense chief calls himself an amateur

Kyodo, Staff Report

New Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa called himself an “amateur” regarding security issues, but excused his lack of expertise by saying that’s what the concept of civilian control of the military is all about.

His remark, made Friday after he assumed the post in Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s new Cabinet, may call into question Noda’s ministerial appointments.

“I am an amateur regarding security issues, but this is what you call the real ‘civilian control,’ ” Ichikawa told reporters.

The remark immediately drew a rebuke from former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, a military wonk who is now the Liberal Democratic Party’s chief policymaker.

“That remark itself warrants his dismissal as defense minister,” Ishiba told reporters.