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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER:With regards to the information on the "unfamiliar vessel" which was found off the coast of Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture yesterday, can you tell us the facts of what happened since then and what measures will be taken for the nine people who are being protected?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Let me briefly describe what happened since yesterday's announcement. The nine people who were aboard the vessel were moved to a patrol vessel and arrived outside of a Kanazawa port around 7:15pm yesterday. They are now beginning to be questioned jointly with relevant organizations. As to what comes next, I believe the questioning will continue into today, including on the detailed background of this issue. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on the content of questioning. The reason is from the standpoint of ensuring these peoples' safety.


REPORTER:I have a question concerning the issue of the Futenma Air Station in Okinawa. Undersecretary Ashton Carter of the U.S., who is nominated to be the next Deputy Secretary of Defense, seems to have indicated at a confirmation hearing (OK) at the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate, that in relation to the Futenma Air Station, he will not exclude the proposal to integrate the station with Kadena Air Base. What are the Government's thoughts on this? I believe this will also have an impact on future Japan-U.S. negotiations. What is your impression?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:My understanding is that the statement you indicated was made at a Congressional confirmation hearing in the form of a response to a question asked by a Senator. I understand that he was describing his general stance, which is to consider a variety of measures related to the issue of the realignment of the U.S. forces. It does not mean that the U.S. Government will be reviewing the current Japan-U.S. agreement. There is no change to the Japanese Government's policy of continuing to steadily implement the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan according to the Roadmap and the Guam International Agreement, which was also confirmed at the recent Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2+2), based on the concept of quickly reducing the burden on Okinawa while maintaining deterrence. We understand that the U.S. Government's position is also to promote the current agreement.


REPORTER:At your press conference yesterday afternoon, I believe you responded that the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station is also included in the framework for restarting the operations of the nuclear power stations which are currently undergoing regular inspections. When the Kan administration announced in July that stress tests, etc., will be performed, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said that Hamaoka was shut down based on Prime Minister Kan's request and that it will not be restarted immediately. NISA was indicating that the Government's view was that Hamaoka is a special case. However, is your response yesterday implying that the Government's policy has been changed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:No. In terms of thoroughly verifying and confirming the safety of each and every nuclear power station, it can be said that each and every one of them is a special case. With Hamaoka, in addition to the primary assessment, we will need to obtain the understanding of the community upon verifying its safety, for example, by implementing the mid- to long-term measures which were presented when Hamaoka shut down its operations. Furthermore, in terms of the respective nuclear power stations, there is the issue of installing sea walls on the side of the nuclear power station facing the ocean and the installation of floodwalls for the seawater pump area. In other words, each and every nuclear power station is different. In this sense, Hamaoka is not special, and a decision will be made about the respective nuclear power stations based on their particular characteristics. Above all, I believe we need to have the communities' understanding.


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