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Press Conference by Prime Minister Naoto Kan

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
[Provisional Translation]

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: We will now begin the press conference with Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Prime Minister, your opening statement please.

Opening Statement by Prime Minister Naoto Kan

PRIME MINISTER KAN: Yesterday marked one month since the Great East Japan Earthquake. We originally planned to hold this press conference yesterday, but due to the large aftershocks that occurred, we judged that it was more important to prioritize work to grasp the condition of the affected areas, and so we pushed this press conference by a day.

There have been many large aftershocks today as well. Should another large aftershock occur during this conference, I would be obliged to suspend it. I request that everyone in the country continue to act in a calm manner even if this kind of development happens.

It has now been one month since the earthquake, and so we must begin to more forward from rescuing lives and extending emergency relief. Toward helping the affected regions recover and rebuild. In doing so, I want to again offer a sincere prayer for the repose of those who have perished because of this disaster. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of these victims, and everyone else who has been affected by this tragedy as well.

After the earthquake struck the first thing on my mind was the work to save lives, and so I immediately ordered the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). To date, a force of 100,000 has exerted every effort to save those affected by the disaster and move toward recovery and reconstruction. As commander and chief of the SDF, it makes me proud to see each member carry out such sincerely selfless work. I would like to offer my heartfelt gratitude to each and every person in the SDF.

The SDF are not the only ones who are working hard. The police, fire departments, the Japan Coast Guard, and everyone else have been giving everything they have for the relief effort. We are also receiving voluntary assistance from local governments, industry, NPOs and individuals.

From outside Japan as well, a great number of countries have offered to lend us a helping hand. I want to again express my deepest respect and gratitude for the help we have received from everyone and the assistance we have received from abroad.

We must now begin work toward recovery. We must begin work toward reconstruction. We should not simply return the area affected by this disaster to the way it once was - we should rather create a new future for our society. This is the kind of reconstruction we must pursue.

In my previous press conference I spoke of our vision to create eco-towns atop plateaus, places with infrastructure to support the elderly and where people will live in harmony with nature. Today I offer three ideals for the creation of such a society through the reconstruction process.

First, above all else, we will create a regional society that is highly resistant to the effects of natural disasters.

Second, we will construct a social system that allows people to live in harmony with the environment.

And third, we will build a society that is kind to people, particularly the vulnerable.

As we proceed with work toward reconstruction, we will be guided by the following three principles.

First, more than anything else, we will respect the requests and wants of those living in the areas affected by the disaster.

Second, we will not simply gather ideas from within the Government or political sphere; we will also call for proposals from academia, private enterprises, NPOs and the public at large, and we will incorporate these proposals into our work.

Third, through reconstruction we will aim to create a kind of dream society of the future. These are our three principles.

In order to proceed with work based on these principles, we will first gather ideas from across the nation. In order to do this, I have created the Reconstruction Design Council, a group formed around a number of experts that also features the participation of the governors of the municipalities affected by the disaster. I have asked President of the National Defense Academy Makoto Iokibe to lead this council, and requested that it deliver to me a blueprint for the reconstruction plan around the time of June.

We will need to pass a number of budgets and laws through the Diet in order to actually move forward with reconstruction. We will need to realize policy on a wide range of topics including housing, employment, and industry. For this reason, I hope to have the participation of opposition parties from the blueprint drafting stage. I expect they will cooperate. We will create an organization to act as a reconstruction headquarters that will lead work in line with the reconstruction blueprint. I hope to present a concrete proposal for what this organization should look like within this month.

In addition to the great earthquake, at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants we have faced a large-scale nuclear power plant incident the likes of which Japan has never dealt with before. Although the reactors at the power plant stopped in the earthquake, the tsunami that followed prevented the operation of the emergency power generators, causing the cooling systems to go offline, leading to serious problem of the power plants.

As soon as this happened I immediately issued Declaration of Nuclear Emergency Situation based on the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, and established a Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters in line with that same Act. Since directly after this incident began, this organization - which consists of members of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC), myself and Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Banri Kaieda - has been exerting every possible effort for disaster response.

For some time now the situation at the nuclear power plant has continued to be a severe one. There has even been the release of some nuclear materials. In line with the international standards and based on the results of calculations regarding how much nuclear radiation is being emitted from the plant, today we announced the reclassification of this incident as Level 7 on the International Nuclear Events Scale (INES).

Although we made such an announcement, the situation at each reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is one moving toward stability. The amount of radiation being released continues along a downward trend. I have instructed TEPCO to show their outlook for the situation moving forward. Its plan is scheduled to be presented soon.

Above all else we must bring the reactors and spent fuel pools under stable control and prevent the further spread of any damage due to this incident. We will continue to give our all to this problem, working with strong resolve to proceed with countermeasures.

On top of the problems caused by the earthquake and tsunamis, for some time now many people have been forced to live horribly inconvenient lives following the instruction to evacuate due to the nuclear incidents. In addition, shipping restrictions on certain agricultural and fisheries products have caused terrible financial loss for many people. As the representative of the Government, I offer my deep apologies for this.

Yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano announced that we are reconsidering the size of the evacuation zones. We are considering this issue from the perspective of how public health will be affected by continuing to live in each area for a long period of time. The first principle on which we base all our work in response to this disaster is that we must prevent the public from coming to any harm. This sometimes requires us to request actions that inconvenience or place a burden on the public. The national government will continue to work in close contact with those in concerned local governments on this. We ask for everyone's understanding and cooperation on this matter.

We will support those affected by the nuclear incidents by implementing measures in the fields of housing, employment, education and other areas, and I promise that we shall continue with this support to the very end. Although compensation for those affected by this incident is primarily the responsibility of TEPCO, the Government must consider bearing some of the responsibility for this in order that an appropriate amount of compensation be paid in the end.

Since the earthquake struck I have visited several affected regions. I met with a woman who spoke to me about the feeling of joy she experienced when she was finally able to take a bath after such a long time. I also met a young girl who told me that she lost everything in the earthquake except for her school backpack. Despite the truly horrific situation they are in, those caught in the disaster are now taking steps toward reconstruction, gathering vigor to rebuild their own lives. They have told me that they also want to see vigor returned to the whole of Japan as well, and have called for an end to acts of excessive self-restraint.

Thus I have a proposal for the people of this nation. Let us maintain our feelings of empathy for those affected by the disaster, overcome our mood of excessive self-restraint and begin to live life normally again. Purchasing goods produced in the disaster-stricken region is also one form of support. I implore everyone to encourage these regions by using, eating and enjoying the goods they produce. This is my request to you all.

I was born in 1946, a year which for many still calls to mind memories of World War II. I remember that my family used to use a steel part from an unexploded firebomb as a weight to put pressure on the vegetables when we made pickles. It is no exaggeration to say that to some extent I have lived my life within a reconstruction process - that which followed the Second World War. The world has marveled at how those in the generation before mine were able to rebuild Japan from fields of ashes. Let us once again recall the spirit of reconstruction we felt then, reflect upon it, and re-channel it for our reconstruction work now. Many people have perished. I personally believe that those who passed away would not wish for us to remain stricken by grief, but would want us to instead realize our reconstruction efforts.

Our children will inherit Japan. We must not leave them a country in decline. We must put forth an effort that will allow us to face those who have perished in the current disaster and those who will inherit our country without shame. Our initiatives for reconstruction are founded in this belief.

I have lived my life within the period of reconstruction following World War II, giving my all to this country while receiving many a blessing from it. I pledge here and now in front of the entire nation to continue to give my all to Japan in order to overcome the earthquake and subsequent nuclear incidents and rebuild our country in such a way as to make it even better than before. I believe we can do this.


CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: We will now move on to the Q&A session. Although I will be calling on you to ask questions, we would appreciate it if you would still state your name and affiliation. Thank you.


REPORTER: I am Igarashi of the Yomiuri Shimbun. Prime Minister, I would first like to ask a question about the accident at the nuclear power plant. You have just stated that the situation at the nuclear plant is moving toward stability; however, the provisional evaluation of the accident has been raised from the initial Level 4 immediately following the accident, first to Level 5 and now to the worst level ever assigned in the history of Japan, Level 7. The changes in these figures are very hard for the public to understand. Has there been some problem in evaluating the level or in the timing and decisions concerning the evaluation? What are your thoughts on this issue?

In addition, the raising to the worst level in history of Level 7 will cause unease and doubts to grow both in Japan and overseas. In order to dispel such doubts, what specifically does the Government intend to do? You have conveyed your intention to the leaders of the New Komeito Party to newly appoint Special Advisor Hosono to the position of minister responsible for nuclear power. Is this part of your efforts to strengthen the structures of the Government?

PRIME MINISTER KAN: I believe that the Chief Cabinet Secretary has provided an explanation today that the results of the surveys implemented to date by NISA and the NSC have shown that in terms of international standards the accident was viewed to correspond to a Level 7 incident and an announcement was made to that effect. As I have just mentioned, in the various circumstances to date it is the case that radioactive materials have been emitted, and at one point they were being emitted in strong concentrations. After having examining how far these radioactive materials have spread and which locations they have reached, the experts came to the decision that was announced today. This is the explanation that I have received and is the situation as I understand it. If we look at the situation today, it is the case that progress is being made step-by-step from the previous situation and the emissions of radioactive materials have decreased. That is also what I mentioned at the outset.

The situation at the nuclear power plant is still one while we cannot prejudge. Currently, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Banri Kaieda is serving concurrently as minister responsible for the nuclear disaster, and Special Advisor Goshi Hosono is working in his position as Secretary General of the Integrated Headquarters. Under this structure there is still a great deal of work that remains to be done. Those are my thoughts on this issue.


REPORTER: I am Aoyama of Nippon Television. The results of the unified local elections held on Sunday dealt a harsh blow to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). While it is true that the DPJ may have faced difficult conditions there are those who consider the result to be an expression of dissatisfaction and criticism at the Government's response to the disaster. In what way do you view the results of the local elections, Prime Minister? In addition, the opposition parties have used the election results to reignite criticism of your administration and there are those who are calling for your resignation. You have just mentioned that you have called on the opposition parties to participate in the creation of a blueprint for reconstruction from the inception stages. For such a political structure to be created, are you considering sacrificing yourself, or, in other words is resignation one of your options?

PRIME MINISTER KAN: As you rightly point out, the unified local elections resulted in a severe outcome, and I take these results with the utmost seriousness. The factors behind this outcome will be fully examined by the party following the conclusion of the second part of the elections and I would like to wait for those results to come through.


REPORTER: I am Goto of Jiji Press. Despite the fact that Japan has been beset by an onslaught of large disasters, from an enormous earthquake and tsunami to the nuclear power plant accident, it seems that it is only politics that is lacking any momentum. You stated that you have called on the opposition parties for cooperation, but what kind of specific cooperation are you seeking? You have been calling for cooperation to date, but none has been forthcoming. Could you explain in a little more detail about what cooperation you hope to receive by making further calls on the opposition?

PRIME MINISTER KAN: As I stated earlier, immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake struck at 14:46 on March 11, I entered the Prime Minister's Office and gathered together the relevant officials, including all the crisis management officials and immediately launched two emergency response headquarters, as provided for by law. As I mentioned before, I issued an order for the swift mobilization of the Self-Defense Forces. In this sense I believe that I fully acquitted all the duties that were expected of me. In addition, the members of the opposition parties demonstrated their understanding of the actions taken by the Government and provided due consideration so that the Diet deliberation schedule and other matters did not interfere with the disaster response activities of the ministers concerned. I am of course grateful for the consideration shown by the opposition parties and they are cooperating beyond partisan positions as we face this national crisis.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: Next we would like to call on a member of the foreign press. The gentleman wearing the spectacles, please.

REPORTER: I am Ken Cukier of The Economist. Mr. Kan, how do you hope that the disasters will reshape the nature of politics in Japan?

PRIME MINISTER KAN: I think that 65 years following the end of the Second World War, modern-day Japan was facing a situation of stagnation and deadlock on a number of issues. I think that this disaster may serve to strengthen momentum for Japan to recover once again, based on a desire for reconstruction similar to that in the post-war period that I mentioned earlier. That is what I expect will happen and I believe it will prove to be the case.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: Yes, next please, Yamaguchi-san.

REPORTER: I am Yamaguchi of NHK. In your previous statement, you called on the opposition parties to cooperate in formulating an emergency budget for earthquake reconstruction and related legislature. I suppose that formulating the budget will be a major task. Did you mean to call for a coalition with these parties or do you intend to cooperate with them outside the Cabinet framework as you do right now? What kind of political framework are you seeking?

PRIME MINISTER KAN: At this moment, as I said in my opening statement, I will be creating a blueprint for reconstruction mainly with the members of the Reconstruction Design Council. I would like to have them take part in that process in a certain form. That is what I said.


REPORTER: I am Abiru of the Sankei Shimbun. You did not answer the question from Nippon Television about whether or not you consider resigning as an option. In reality, it is your presence that has been the largest obstacle for ruling-opposition party talks as well as the cause of uncertainty among the people with regard to delayed disaster responses. What makes you want to hold onto your position - what do you want to do with it? Please tell us your thoughts.

PRIME MINISTER KAN: I don't think your way of thinking necessarily matches with what I am objectively. As I have been repeating since a while ago, immediately after the earthquake occurred, I ordered the SDF to respond to the disaster and rescued many people. For the nuclear incidents as well, I have been doing my utmost in dealing with the crisis, with a solid structure in place, in light of the seriousness of the situation. I can only say that your way of seeing things is different from mine.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: Next question. Please. Yes, you. Right there.

REPORTER: I am Sakagami of the Japan Agricultural News. I have two questions to ask. It has been more than a month since the earthquake, and more and more those in the disaster-stricken areas are looking to resume farming or fishing activities. How does the Government intend to support their early reconstruction - by when will it start extending such support?

Also, concerning losses incurred as a result of the nuclear incidents, farms and fisheries are anxious about how much will be covered by compensation measures. Please tell us your thoughts about this, including compensation for losses incurred as a result of negative rumors.

PRIME MINISTER KAN: As I said earlier, the Government is truly sorry for the shipping restrictions and other inconveniences caused to farms and fisheries following the nuclear incident. As to what can be done about this and at what stage, I am currently urging TEPCO to present an outlook on this. Once this outlook has been made public, I think we will be able to say something more specific about the future.

With regard to compensation, although TEPCO holds the primary responsibility for this, the Government will also approach the issue with a sense of responsibility so as to ensure appropriate compensation will be provided.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: Next question. Matsuyama-san, please.

REPORTER: I am Matsuyama of Fuji TV. When you met with President Sarkozy of France the other day, you exchanged opinions about whether you will discuss the issue of nuclear power during the G8 Summit in May. As you are aware, the international community views the latest nuclear incident quite critically. For example, there have been criticisms about insufficient information disclosure. Concerning the latest decision to raise the level, some are pointing that the Government underestimated the seriousness of the incident from the beginning. I think that it is natural to wonder whether the Government sufficiently considered the possibility of nuclear power plant incident or power loss due to a tsunami. How are you going to explain the series of actions taken by the Government - failures and points of improvements - at international fora?

PRIME MINISTER KAN: I think we are not yet at a stage where we can discuss how we should explain the nuclear incident during the G8 Summit in detail.

Concerning what you just said, at least with regard to what I know of about the nuclear incident - although it is not the case that I know everything since the Government is large - there have been absolutely no instances where I told to conceal the facts.

There have been various opinions about this for some time and these opinions continue to be expressed. I am fully aware of the view that announcements could have been made earlier. Nevertheless, at least I, in my responsibility as the head of the Government, have never hidden any information, for fear of giving a bad impression.

I discussed with President Sarkozy about the establishment of international standards for nuclear power plants as no clear standards have been established to date. President Sarkozy said he want to seriously tackle this issue. Although the latest nuclear incident in Japan has been a major concern to the world, this is all the more a reason why we should consider what should be done to never allow such an incident to occur again. Within this process, I think it is essential that I thoroughly explain Japan's experience and play a role in examining the incident and establishing safety standards.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: Next, please. Jinbo-san, please ask your question.

REPORTER: I am Jinbo of Video News. Thank you for taking my question. I would like to ask you about the Japanese Government's future policy on nuclear power. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and United States President Barack Obama have both clearly indicated a position of continuing to use nuclear power while better confirming the technology's safety.

Meanwhile, in Japan, one month has passed since the incident at the nuclear power plant remains unresolved. Depending on the situation there is the possibility that the problem will continue for a long period of time. Some overseas are questioning why Japan is simply waiting for that to happen and is not clarifying its position on why and what it will do in the future.

You talked about safety. Will Japan continue using nuclear power in the future while confirming its safety? Now, every time there is an earthquake it is usually followed by news on whether power at the nuclear power plant somewhere has been turned off or not. Please provide some insight as to future nuclear policy amidst these circumstances, including whether the Government intends to continue operating nuclear power plants.

PRIME MINISTER KAN: The first thing that must be done is a thorough verification. This is obvious. It is what I think. Beyond that, Japan has a solid foundation of technical expertise in terms of clean energies such as solar power, for instance, and that is why I have suggested that the creation of environmentally friendly towns be one of our reconstruction ideals. As this is the case, we will pursue safety of nuclear power while also working aggressively to promote these clean energies. It is necessary that we address both of these issues in a steadfast manner.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: Next we would like to call on a member of the foreign press. Yes, you, please.

REPORTER: Prime Minister, I would like to ask about your approach to handling the nuclear incident in terms of using bureaucrats and applying political leadership. Some people have criticized you for not showing enough political leadership or enough leadership in the incident, other people have said that you have excluded them, that you have interfered too much and made it harder for the bureaucrats. What is your approach to this crisis? What kind of leadership are you hoping to exercise when it comes to the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant? Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER KAN: First, let me talk about the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness. This Act was created in response to a nuclear incident that occurred in 1999, but this is the first time that a nuclear emergency declaration has been made in response to a serious nuclear incident.

It seems like your questions came from two separate directions. From the beginning, for example, I called people from NISA to visit the crisis management center on the day of the earthquake to provide explanations on the events as they unfolded. NISA is a part of METI, so those officials firmly exercised their capacities within that context. Moreover, the Cabinet Office is in charge of the headquarters for the NSC - although this organization has a slightly different perspective from that of the bureaucracy. Officials from NSC also attended meetings at the center and decisions were made while paying heed to expert views on situation as it developed.

In that respect, first I would like to call attention expertise has been of great help in our response to the situation. At the same time, political leadership is a term that is used in various different capacities. However, and just as I previously mentioned, it is obvious to me that such behavior as hiding information for a reason other than for ensuring the safety of national citizens is completely unacceptable. It is unpardonable that the purposes of corporate profit or of escaping responsibility for something that has been done in the past influences decision-making processes. As far as I am aware I have exercised leadership while ensuring that decisions are not made for any other reason than ensuring the safety of the nation. I can say that with confidence.


REPORTER: I am Sakajiri of the Asahi Shimbun. This question is to confirm your first comments about raising the INES level of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant incident to Level Seven. No revision of the level has been made for nearly one month, since the level was raised to five on 18 March, one week following the earthquake. Did the administration not question the reason for the slow nature of this revision? Furthermore, in relation to that point, sources within Japan and abroad have pointed out that your administration has underestimated the situation at the nuclear power plant. How do you respond to those views?

PRIME MINISTER KAN: I mentioned this earlier, but I am well aware that there are, or were, various different views in Japan and abroad in response to the level being set at five. At the same time, and just as I previously mentioned, many have been throwing around the word "Government" in various different ways. In terms of administration, there are two different institutions: NISA and NSC. The conclusion to raise the level was determined following thorough analyses of past data and other resources by the experts at NISA and NSC over the course of their investigation into this incident. I issued an order that their conclusion be announced once they had decided upon it. Absolutely nothing was delayed or taken lightly in that process.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: We have exceeded the time limit, but will take another two questions. Mr. Iwakami, please.

REPORTER: I am Iwakami, a freelance journalist. The earthquake and nuclear crisis are thought to have had a significant impact on the Kan administration's key policies.

First, although June had been established as one of the target timelines for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), I am wondering whether you will actually move ahead with the TPP as planned, in view of the potential additional burden that doing so could inflict on farmers or the main bearers of the primary industries that have already suffered significant losses in this crisis.

My second question is, how will the nuclear energy policy change hereon fundamentally? Will we continue to employ nuclear power generation? Before we go into the logic surrounding such issues, are there any plans to carry out emergency shutdown operations for dangerous nuclear power plants that are situated in earthquake zones, such as the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant? Could you please share your thoughts on these two points with us? Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER KAN: With regard to the TPP, I have stated that we will decide on whether or not to partake in negotiations by June, as per the original schedule.

This nuclear accident and major earthquake has severely impacted the country on various fronts. It is our intention to review future plans while taking such an impact into consideration.

Your next questions related to nuclear energy policy and the emergency shutdown of nuclear reactors. First, we have to conduct thorough verifications. I think that this is our first principle.

At the same time, we experienced severe aftershocks yesterday and today. It is my stance that there should be no instances of power outages at all nuclear power plants as a consequence of earthquakes, including but not limited to the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Power Plants. Such outages did occur temporarily. We cannot allow power outages to occur; nor can we allow emergency power generators to fail at the stage not being struck by a tsunami. As such, I have again given directions for the relevant parties to make haste in coming up with measures to prevent it to happen, and to conduct checks in order to find out the causes behind such occurrences.

In that sense, I am of the opinion that we have to put in our best efforts to further enhance the safety of nuclear reactors that are currently in operation. Of course, while it is possible that we will have to halt plant operations should any problems arise in spite of our efforts, at this point in time, I could say that we have no intentions of shutting down any reactors that are currently in operation in any part of Japan automatically.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: We will take the last question now. Yamaguchi-san, please.

REPORTER: I am Yamaguchi of TBS. I have a question about your dissemination of information. In times of crisis, I think that the leader should speak to the people frequently, dispel their fears, and encourage them. However, after this crisis, you have not responded to any requests for doorstepping interviews. Why is that? Why are you not making use of such an excellent opportunity? That is my first question.

In relation to that, last month, Special Advisor to the Cabinet Kiyoshi Sasamori, spoke before cameras at a doorstepping interview, stating that you have said that East Japan could potentially be debilitated. Is that true? If so, what did you mean by that remark? That remark had caused great anxiety to the people, and even people I know have moved to the Kansai region or further west, so if that was not been true, I think that you should deny it, and dismiss the special advisor roused such fear among the people. What are your thoughts on this?

Please respond to all three of my questions.

PRIME MINISTER KAN: I shoulder heavy responsibilities as the Prime Minister; my first priority at the time of a major earthquake or a crisis like this is to create a system that can enable the Government exert the greatest possible effort to save lives. Specifically, for instance, one which enables the SDF to arrive at the disaster area even a day, hour, or second earlier. I have put in my best efforts into accomplishing this since the earthquake occurred. I have in fact taken such measures.

In that sense, currently, we are taking firm steps to provide explanations on the various circumstances to the people with the Chief Cabinet Secretary as the key spokesperson. Roles and duties are shared in various ways within the cabinet, but we are at least providing the people with the necessary information, or the information that they require. That is my opinion.

There are cases whereby various parties who have spoken to me report my words to the mass media. However, in view of the tense situation that we are currently in, I can say, at least, that I have not said anything or given any explanations to that effect.

However, generally speaking, I have also stated here, and have stated thus far, that I am aware of the extreme severity of this nuclear accident. As such, I may have said something to express such a perception of this situation. It would be correct to say that I did have such an awareness of the situation.

CABINET PUBLIC RELATIONS SECRETARY: This brings the Prime Minister's press conference to a close. Thank you very much for your cooperation.