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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:A number of meetings have taken place this morning and I would like to provide an overview of their content. Firstly, I will give an overview of today's Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved four general and other measures, and also the promulgation of legislation and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Prime Minister Noda made a statement concerning reclassification standards for FY2012 budget requests. The Minister of Finance also made a statement concerning the same matter.. The Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications made statements concerning requests for personnel quotas and government organizations in FY2012, and also about local government finances relating to reclassification standards for FY2012 budget requests, as well as about the second extraordinary allocation of special tax allocations to local governments in FY2011. I made a statement concerning the holding of the Ministerial Meeting on Countermeasures against Novel Influenza. Minister Renho made a statement concerning the Autumn 2011 National Traffic Safety Campaign and the "Zero Traffic Accident Fatality Day." The Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission reported on the implementation of the Autumn 2011 National Traffic Safety Campaign. The Prime Minister also made statements concerning parliamentary secretaries to assist the ministers responsible for consumer affairs, food safety, the abduction issue, measures for reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake and disaster prevention; concerning matters pertaining to the interpretation of laws and ordinances by the Cabinet; and concerning a temporary acting Prime Minister while the Prime Minister is on an overseas visit. In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, I made a statement concerning the draft bills to be submitted to the extraordinary session of the Diet.

I would like to give an overview of the reclassification standards for FY2012 budget requests, which was one of the items approved by the Cabinet today. These reclassification standards will comply with the Medium-term Fiscal Framework and aim to respond to the issues of highest priority that Japan currently faces, namely recovery and reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, bringing the damage from the nuclear power station accident to a conclusion in the near term, and reviving the Japanese economy in the midst of the global financial and economic crises. In specific terms, based on the work procedures for budget requests notified by the Minister of Finance on August 23, while on the one hand reductions in some expenses will be required, fiscal resources secured through these expenditure reforms will be reallocated and implemented as a measure to prioritize the revival of Japan and allocated to budgetary measures that will be highly effective in ensuring the revival of the Japanese economy. This will entail a large-scale reclassification of budget standards, encompassing all ministries and agencies. For details, please direct your questions to the Ministry of Finance.

Next, following the Cabinet meeting the first Ministerial Meeting on Countermeasures against Novel Influenza was held. At the meeting it was decided to revise the Action Plan to Counter Novel Influenza, from the perspectives of preparing for an outbreak and spread of a highly pathogenic new type of influenza, strengthening countermeasures to ensure the maintenance of medical and societal functions, and deciding on countermeasures that would need to be implemented in response to the degree of pathogenesis and infectiousness, based on our experiences of dealing with the H1N1 influenza virus two years ago. For details, please direct your questions to the Office for Countermeasures against Novel Influenza at the Cabinet Secretariat.

Next I would like to provide an overview of the Monthly Economic Report. Following the Cabinet meeting, the Ministerial Council on the Monthly Economic Report was held. With regard to the state of the economy, similarly to the previous month's report, it was noted that "the Japanese economy is picking up while difficulties continue to prevail due to the Great East Japan Earthquake." On prospects for the economy, the report states that although it is expected that the recovery trend will continue, caution is still required due to downside risks that could stem from such factors as weakening of overseas economies where recovery is slowing, and volatile fluctuations in exchange rates and stock prices. For details, please direct your questions to officials in charge of economic and fiscal analysis at the Cabinet Office.
Following the Ministerial Council on the Monthly Economic Report, the Council on the State of the Economy was held. At the meeting, discussion took place on the draft interim report concerning comprehensive measures to respond to the appreciation of the yen, which was then approved. Based on the outcome of the Council meeting, the final draft of the comprehensive measures to respond to the appreciation of the yen will be promptly compiled. I believe that an explanation of the details of today's Council meeting and related documents has already been provided by Minister for National Policy Furukawa.


REPORTER:I have a question concerning the landslide dam that has been created following Typhoon No. 12 in the Iya district of Tanabe City in Wakayama Prefecture. It appears that this dam is already filled to overflowing, and that there is a danger that it may collapse due to the impact of Typhoon No. 15, which is drawing near. What measures does the Government intend to take to respond to this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The landslide dam that has formed in the Iya district of Tanabe City in Wakayama Prefecture is now full. As of 8:00am this morning it had reached its capacity and accordingly it is in danger of collapse. The Government is liaising with the ministries and agencies and local governments concerned and will continue to monitor the status of the landslide dam with a view to ensuring the safety of residents. The area downstream of the dam has been designated as an emergency evacuation zone and I have received a report that the evacuation of residents has been completed. I would like to reiterate my request to the local residents living in the areas where there is a danger of landslides if the dam were to collapse, to carefully follow information provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency about heavy rainfall, comply with evacuation order or warning, and ensure that they evacuate in advance to safe locations.


REPORTER:Regarding the cyber attacks on the computers of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., I believe the fact that their computers were attacked makes this also a national security matter. Can you explain the views of the Government and how it will be addressing this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I have been told that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. issued a comment yesterday. My understanding is that so far there has been no confirmed leakage of any product or technology data. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is now investigating the case, and I believe after the facts are confirmed, the company will be reinforcing its countermeasures and taking other appropriate measures. If you have questions about defense equipment, please forward your questions to the Ministry of Defense. As for the Government, it will continue to work more closely among the government office, ministries and agencies to take all possible measures to tackle cyber attacks.


REPORTER:Going back to the earlier question on the cyber attacks, it seems that not only defense-related information but also nuclear power plant-related information were the target of the attacks on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Will any of the existing councils at the Prime Minister's Office be taking a response of some sort? Additionally, over the past few days the attacks have also affected the government related websites including the websites of the National Personnel Authority and the Government's Internet TV, Will the Government be holding any meetings or take any measures in response to the attacks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:My response may be repetitive, but if I may reiterate, the Government will strengthen the information security measures of all government agencies and will carry out awareness-raising activities and other activities targeted at the wider public. Furthermore, information related to the cyber attacks on the government office, ministries and agencies will be collected by the Cabinet Secretariat, and mechanisms will be enhanced to facilitate proper and appropriate information sharing among the government office, ministries and agencies.


REPORTER:Regarding the North Korean defectors who were found off the Noto Peninsula, what is the current status of the situation? Also, according to some news reports, one of the defectors has explained that he began to long for a life in the Republic of Korea after watching Korean TV dramas. Can you verify the facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:First, on September 16, the Minister of Justice granted permission for the individuals to land in Japan for temporary asylum for a period of one month. With regards to the nine people, it appears that no particular problems have currently arisen, including health problems. All of them are eating most of their meals, and I'm told that they watch TV and do light exercises in the room, etc. As to the question a moment ago on the reports about the testimony that one of them was inspired by Korean TV dramas and so on, I would like to refrain from making specific comments. However, we recognize that collecting information about the North Korean situation is one of the important duties of the Government, and the Government is taking steady measures to this end.

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