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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, October 3, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I would like to report about the Prime Minister's order regarding the appointment of a Minister of State. Based on the report which was compiled today by the Investigation Committee on TEPCO's Management and Finances, the Prime Minister issued an order, effective today, October 3, to appoint Minister Edano, the Minister for Nuclear Incident Economic Countermeasures, to be in charge of the work related to the Corporation in Support of Compensation for Nuclear Damage. This is to undertake further efforts for supporting the nuclear disaster compensation payments. The Prime Minister has just given the letter of assignment to the Minister. Minister Hosono, as the Minister of State, will continue to be in charge of the work related to the nuclear power administration, which are under the control of the Cabinet Office, including matters related to the Atomic Energy Commission and the Nuclear Safety Commission.



REPORTER:Today, for the first time since the inauguration of the Noda administration, the meetings of the Energy and Environment Council and the Advisory Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will be held. Three entities oversee energy policy: the Energy and Environment Council; the Advisory Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; and the Atomic Energy Commission. Can you explain their relationship or how their roles will be divided in moving forward with the discussions? Also, with a Minister now entering into the picture with regard to the Energy and Environment Council, will this minister going to be taking command? If you can please explain these two items.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe what you said in your second question is valid. The Government intends to review from a blank slate the current Basic Energy Plan which looks ahead to 2030, and set forth a new strategy and plan by the summer of next year. Based on the perspective of energy security and cost analysis and so forth, the scheme for the mid- to long-term energy structure with which the people will be able to feel reassured will be identified by asking for the opinions of a wide range of people. Also, in coordination with the Advisory Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which you mentioned a moment ago, or the New Policy-Planning Council on the Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Energy and Environment Council will be taking the lead in compiling the new strategy and plan.


REPORTER:Excuse me for changing the subject, but I have a question regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Can you tell us your thoughts on how and what decisions will be made about TPP at ministerial meetings, etc., moving forward? That is my first question. Also, before, at the time of the Japan-U.S. summit meeting, you said that the Government does not stick to making a decision by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November. That is what you said as part of your explanation of the summit meeting. It is a little unclear what general timeframe the Government has in mind for deciding about participation in the negotiations, whether it is by APEC or some other date.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:When participating in TPP negotiations, respective countries need to approve Japan's participation. In some cases, countries will need to obtain the approval of their parliaments. For example, the United States is one of those countries. If this process were to take around 90 days, then we can tentatively anticipate that there will be a turning point every three months regarding the forthcoming schedule. In Japan, the Government has of course started conducting a review, and with the ruling party expected to soon establish a project team, we have just asked the ruling party today to compile its views. From here on, we tentatively anticipate that APEC in November constitutes one turning point and that the next turning point will be three months from then.


REPORTER:Regarding TPP, a moment ago you said that every three months there will be a turning point. I wasn't exactly sure what the connection was between the three months necessary for obtaining the approval of the U.S. Congress and the discussions within Japan marking a turning point every three months.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:In Japan, too, even if we were to decide at some point to participate in the negotiations, I believe the negotiations will actually start three months from then. So, what I meant was that every three months may be considered a turning point. However, as you say, I do not believe the two are logically all that much related.

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