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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:With regard to policy on nuclear power, there are some news reports saying that compared to the statements made by the Prime Minister during the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leadership contest, he now seems to have toned down his statements concerning the abandonment of nuclear power. By "tone down", I mean that it has been often said that the Prime Minister is leaning a little more towards relying on nuclear power. Do you have any comments to make on this point? Is this your recognition?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe that the Prime Minister's comments are in line with those he made at the time of the selection of a new DPJ leader. In other words, it will be difficult to build new nuclear power stations. The other point is that aging nuclear power stations will probably be decommissioned. In that sense, I do not believe that the Prime Minister's comments diverge from the basic concept of "policy of leaving behind the reliance on nuclear power," if it could be termed in such a way.

REPORTER:On a related note, in his address to the United Nations in New York the Prime Minister made a statement to the effect that the policy of exporting nuclear power station technologies would be maintained. However, domestically he is advocating "policy of leaving behind the reliance on nuclear power." I believe that public opinion in Japan and the international community in general would be skeptical about this point, namely that although exports are continuing no new construction will take place in Japan. What is your view on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I don't think that the Prime Minister specifically said anything about "continuing exports" of nuclear power technologies while in New York. Japan still has a few forthcoming decades of experience for developing nuclear power station technology and it must make further efforts to develop it more effectively. From the perspective of further increasing safety, if there are any developing countries that may require assistance in this regard, then Japan would consider such a request. That was the gist of the Prime Minister's comments. He did not refer specifically to the export of nuclear power stations.

REPORTER:With regard to the new construction of nuclear power stations, you have indicated your understanding that this means power stations for which "land will be acquired from now, then the start of construction will follow." Is there no change to your view on this definition?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:My intention was to refer to the construction of completely new nuclear power stations.

REPORTER:So is the same as the Prime Minister's views on the difficulty of "constructing new power stations?"


REPORTER:With regard to the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ), many local governments are calling for the 10km area to be expanded. What is the current status of considerations by the Government, are there any plans to revise the EPZ and if so, when?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) has begun consideration of the EPZ since July, and I hear that guidelines that set out a basic concept will be compiled by the end of October. For details please direct your questions to the NSC.

REPORTER:Will the scope of the EPZ to be announced at the end of October be linked to the scope being called for by local residents, given the necessity you have mentioned in the past of gaining local understanding and having trusting relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Whether there will be linkage or not, the Government's considerations will be based on the results of the considerations that will be reported at the end of October.


REPORTER:I have a point of confirmation regarding the policy on export of nuclear power station technologies. Given that you said that the Prime Minister did not refer to the continuation of exports, can we understand that the Government's stance is that it will not engage in new exports of nuclear technology in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The Prime Minister did not refer to whether exports of nuclear power station technologies would be implemented or not. He merely stated that if developing countries require Japan's technologies or knowledge about safety aspects, then it would be perfectly feasible for such a transfer to be implemented. He did not make any statement about the export of nuclear power stations specifically.

REPORTER:Does that mean that a policy on whether to export nuclear power stations has yet to be decided?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:At the current point there is no decided policy.

REPORTER:When would you expect such a policy to be decided?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:By the end of August next year, the Energy and Environment Council and other bodies will finalize their considerations on the major pillars for Japan's future energy policy, and I believe that such an export policy would be considered within the context of those considerations.

REPORTER:With regard to the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters, I believe that the designation of the evacuation-prepared area in case of emergency (emergency evacuation preparation zones) will be lifted. Are we to understand that this announcement will be made on September 30?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Today in his responses to Diet questions Minister Hosono stated that an announcement would be made "by the end of this week," so if by that he meant Friday, then yes, it would be September 30.


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