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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, September 22, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER:During the meeting between the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and Prime Minister Noda which was held early this morning (in Japan time), the Prime Minister made forward-looking statements about the deployment of Self-Defense Force (SDF) personnel for participation in peacekeeping operations (PKO) in South Sudan. However, since the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) took over the reins of government, the DPJ's announcements to dispatch helicopter units for the Sudan PKO or the dispatch of medical officers to Afghanistan, etc. have been slow to materialize. In making this latest announcement, to what extent did the Government consider its feasibility?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:With regards to the dispatch of medical officers to Afghanistan, very careful considerations are being made. As to the meeting between Prime Minister Noda and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, I believe a press release has been issued about this, which is that preparations are being made to deploy two SDF command personnel. A study team has already gone to and returned from South Sudan to assess the feasibility of the deployment of the SDF command personnel, about which I, too, have been briefed. As an extension of these studies to date, a conclusion has basically been reached that the deployment of two personnel is feasible, and I believe this is what Prime Minister Noda explained (to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon).

REPORTER:I have a related question. The Prime Minister also stated that Japan would like to dispatch a study team to assess the feasibility of the deployment of an SDF engineering unit and based on that reach a conclusion. However, there continues to be conflict with Sudan near South Sudan's border, and even the President of Sudan has issued a declaration of a state of emergency and so on. What is your view of the current situation from the standpoint of ensuring safety?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe what you have just referred to is the dispatch of the Self-Defense Force engineering unit, which will be considered next. In his meeting with the Secretary-General, the Prime Minister stated that a conclusion would be reached about the dispatch of the engineering unit, after on-site studies have been completed. The on-site study team will be dispatched from now, and they will of course engage in thorough on-site investigations and surveys and gain a picture of the current status, in view of the fact that currently there are media reports concerning security issues in the area concerned. This study team will engage in its work with a view to determining whether dispatch of an SDF engineering unit would be possible, and if so, in which location.


REPORTER:On this occasion, the leaders of Japan and the United States (U.S.) had a summit meeting for the first time. Have you received any reports or instructions from the Prime Minister regarding this meeting? Also, during the meeting, the Prime Minister stated that Japan would like to swiftly reach a conclusion about Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) upon carrying out thorough deliberations. Will the deliberations take place at the National Strategy Council which will be newly established? Where will these deliberations take place and what is the expected schedule for this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The Japan-U.S. summit meeting in New York took place on September 22 from 1:20am this morning, Japan time, for about 35 minutes. A moment ago, or this morning, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Nagahama, who was present at the meeting, informed me over the phone about what went on, or rather about the general atmosphere of the meeting and so on. He said that while this was the first meeting between the Japanese and U.S. leaders, the meeting started amid a very warm and friendly atmosphere. Prime Minister Noda expressed his conviction that the Japan-U.S. alliance is at the core of Japan's foreign policy. He said that this conviction was made firm particularly after receiving an outpouring of cooperation from the U.S. in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Prime Minister Noda and U.S. President Obama agreed to strengthen cooperation on a variety of levels focusing on the three pillars of security, economy, and culture and human exchanges, and to further deepen and enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance. Additionally, the two leaders affirmed the view that Japan and the U.S. will achieve both economic growth and fiscal health as concerns emerge over setbacks in the world economy. Regarding your last question about Japan's tentatively called National Strategy Council, this topic was not touched on at this meeting.


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