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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:In the recent House of Representatives Special Committee on Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, Prime Minister Noda indicated that the Government would consider an increase in the number of Cabinet ministers in relation to the establishment of a Reconstruction Agency. A draft bill aiming to increase the number of Cabinet ministers and senior vice ministers was submitted to the Diet during the tenure of Prime Minister Kan, but was withdrawn. Are we to understand that the Noda Administration seeks to resubmit this draft bill?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:In the recent Diet questions I believe it was committee member Ms. Michiyo Takagi of the New Komeito Party who asked a question concerning whether it was necessary to increase the number of ministers. In response, Minister Noda stated that the Reconstruction Agency will be an organization directly under the Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister, but given the considerable scope and volume of the work that will need to be done on reconstruction and in order to advance promptly with reconstruction efforts, the Government is considering increasing the number of ministers and appointing a Minister for Reconstruction. This is something that is currently being considered and is not something that requires a hasty conclusion.


REPORTER:In this morning's press conference you mentioned a strategy council that would be formed to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. In that regard, when discussions are fully engaged on this issue, does the Government intend to resume the "Opening Japan Forum," which was suspended following the Great East Japan Earthquake, or revise the forum in some way, from the perspective of reflecting opinions of the public?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The "Opening Japan Forum" was launched under the administration of former Prime Minister Kan, under his "21st-century opening of Japan" initiative. This forum was planned to be convened in all regions of Japan for the purpose of deepening understanding among all sectors of the public concerning the relation between their lives and this "21st century opening of Japan" initiative. The forum was convened on three occasions, on February 26, March 5 and March 6, in Saitama, Ishikawa and Miyagi, respectively. The forum was suspended following the March 11 disaster. The current administration is advancing considerations with a view to arriving at a conclusion as quickly as possible concerning participation in TPP negotiations. In that process it will of course be important to broaden the understanding of the public. As for the specific way in this will be achieved, whether it will be in a format similar to the "Opening Japan Forum," or whether another format would be preferable, this will be something to be considered from now and a plan will be drawn up in the relatively near future.


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