The Defense Agency must break with precedent and radically reform itself, new agency chief Hosei Norota urged agency officials Tuesday in his first address after taking over the post.

“The agency has a mission to engage in crisis management for the nation. But you all must admit that the agency has lacked the ability to do crisis management for itself,” said Norota, referring to a recent series of procurement overcharging and subsequent coverup scandals involving the agency, which forced his predecessor, Fukushiro Nukaga, to quit Friday.

“The former director general went through a dreadful experience to wrap up reform plans for the agency. My duty is to carry out his plans — and for that, I need your support,” the 69-year-old Norota told senior officers of the Air, Ground and Maritime Self-Defense Forces and other clerical staffers at the agency’s headquarters in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

Among the issues that top his agenda are the reform of the defense equipment procurement system, swift Diet deliberation of the bills related to new guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation and the settlement of the debate in Okinawa over the U.S. military presence, he said.

Earlier in the day, former Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga made his final address at the agency, saying that the agency must change its custom of trying to settle troubles secretively.

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