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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, September 26, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:In relation to Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station, locals have demanded the indefinite suspension of operations at the station and a resolution to that effect has been adopted. How do you take this response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Are you referring to the decision made by the Makinohara City Assembly?

REPORTER:That is correct.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:It is my understanding that this was an undertaking of the City Assembly. I believe that I have already answered this in a recent press conference, but in either case, just as dictated in the Prime Minister's policy speech and as Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano has answered in his press conferences as well, a thorough safety verification and confirmation will be carried out on each halted nuclear power station and, as a major premise, a relationship of trust has to be built with the local governments before any suspended nuclear power station is restarted. There is no change in this policy.

REPORTER:On a related note, concerning the restart of nuclear power stations, although the Prime Minister acknowledged his awareness that we will face a power shortage unless nuclear reactors are restarted by next summer, and you have recently even commented on the timing for a restart, today Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Edano stated that it will not be possible to acquire local understanding if a timeframe is specified. So, he has presented a negative stance on establishing a timeframe, but does the Government think that it would be good to continue efforts to recommence operations with a certain timeframe in mind? Or, does the Government agree with Minister Edano that it would not be appropriate to specify the timing for restarting operations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:First of all, there was a slight misunderstanding in the beginning of your question. In a previous press conference I did not say that we would specify a timeframe for when to restart operations; however, I did say that there would be a power shortage in February. Next, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Edano is exactly right in what he said today. We are ultimately going to be acquiring local understanding and building relationships of trust with local governments. There is no way of telling whether that will take one week or one month, but we will be taking care to make sure that solid relations are properly developed. Therefore, I do not think that a timeframe should be specified. I believe that Minister Edano's comments were very lucid.


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