Press Conference by Chief Cabinet Secretary Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet top page

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Sunday, March 13 at 08:00pm, 2011
[Provisional Translation]

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY EDANO: I have three perhaps slightly business-like matters to report on. In the press conference I gave earlier, I announced that a headquarters for emergency measures would meet to discuss the electricity supply and demand situation. I believe there was a question then to the effect that, if we were going to take the measures outlined in the explanation given by the prime minister earlier, wouldn't it be better to do so sooner rather than later? Practical arrangements and adjustments have been underway on a number of levels, leading to the announcement made by the prime minister earlier. But I decided to make my announcement first because I believe it is important to communicate the situation clearly to the people as soon as possible, and to ask for their understanding and cooperation.

In connection with this, following this press conference, we will continue to make arrangements in terms of timing and scheduling for a headquarters to respond to the disaster as a whole, a headquarters to respond to nuclear power issues, and a headquarters to respond to the electricity supply situation, including the power cuts I alluded to earlier. We are also holding ongoing meetings to discuss the economic situation, arrangements for which are underway at the present time.

My second point concerns transportation of food supplies. As the prime minister said earlier, we are doing everything we can on this point, but the reports we are receiving suggest that the communication situation is still not all that it should be, particularly in coastal areas. I want to let you know that we are mobilizing various new methods and are redoubling our efforts to ensure that the necessary supplies of food and other necessities reach people in the coastal areas absolutely as soon as possible. I hope to be able to update you with more information on the situation later as further reports come in.

The third point concerns the situation in Unit 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. I mentioned earlier that water levels had begun to rise since injection of sea water into the pressure vessel began. Levels continued to increase steadily for a certain time, but since then the figures indicating the water level inside the pressure vessel are no longer showing an increase. We are continuing to supply water to the reactor. It is not clear how we should assess this situation. There was a similar situation for a time following the explosion in Unit 1 yesterday.

This time, there is a high possibility that the valves in Unit 3 have failed. At the present time people on the scene are doing their utmost to resolve the malfunction of the valves in order to lower the air pressure inside the reactor. Meanwhile, there has been no notable change in the radiation levels observed in the vicinity of the power station. This concludes my report on the latest situation in the Unit 3 reactor.