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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, October 7, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Before I discuss the extraordinary Cabinet meeting, I would like to mention that today, from 5pm, the ninth meeting of the Reconstruction Headquarters in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake was held. The meeting today was held to further crystallize the Basic Guideline for Reconstruction that was approved in July. The following two items were on the agenda. The first was "the third supplementary budget and securing financial resources for reconstruction," which was presented by Minister of Finance Azumi. Among the items that Minister Azumi reported, the outline of the taxation measures to finance the reconstruction was approved by the Reconstruction Headquarters as presented. The second item on the agenda was "reconstruction-related budget, etc." Minister for Reconstruction in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake Hirano reported on the status of considerations on: (1) The outline of the reconstruction-related budget that will be provided for in the draft third supplementary budget; (2) Special zones for reconstruction and user-friendly grants; and (3) Reconstruction Agency; respectively. For details relating to this matter, please direct your questions to the Secretariat of the Reconstruction Headquarters, as Minister of Reconstruction Hirano is giving a press conference.

Next, I would like to give an overview of the extraordinary Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved the Basic Policy on the FY2011 Third Supplementary Budget and Financial Resources for Reconstruction. The contents of the basic policy were explained by the Minister of Finance. With regard to statements by ministers, Minister Hirano made a statement concerning the review of the work plan and time schedule concerning reconstruction measures.

Let me explain the Basic Policy on the FY2011 Third Supplementary Budget and Financial Resources for Reconstruction, which was approved at the extraordinary Cabinet meeting. While the calculation may be subject to changes after careful examination, additional expenditures of roughly 12 trillion yen in total are planned for the third supplementary budget. Included in this figure is 9 trillion yen, roughly, for expenses related to the Great East Japan Earthquake, omitting the 2.5 trillion yen for pensions. The financial resources for reconstruction moving forward, including financial resources for the third supplementary budget, are as agreed by the Government and ruling parties on September 28. In line with this Basic Policy, we will begin drafting bills for the budget and for securing financial resources for reconstruction, to be submitted to the Diet. Discussions between the ruling and opposition parties will continue, and I believe based on the outcomes of the discussions, revisions may be made to the bills or additional budgetary measures may be taken as necessary. For details relating to this matter, please direct your questions to the Ministry of Finance.



REPORTER:Today, in meetings with the leaders of the opposition parties, I understand that Prime Minister Noda expressed intent to review nuclear-related budgets. Specifically, what items are the nuclear-related budgets earmarked for? Also, is there any possibility that these budget reductions will adversely affect safety or municipalities which have nuclear power stations, for example?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The nuclear power-related budget for this fiscal year, FY2011, amounts to roughly 433 billion yen. Prime Minister Noda stated that he would like to review the nuclear-related financial resources and divert portions of the funds to reconstruction and other uses. While 433 billion yen is earmarked this fiscal year, I believe the same amount will probably not be allocated next fiscal year. The nuclear-related budget includes subsidies for a variety of relevant bodies and other entities. We will see how much of these financial resources can be cut back. I believe such cutbacks are a possibility.

REPORTER:Is there any chance that this would have an impact on safety for example?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:We will ensure that nothing like that will happen. We are looking to cut waste in the budget.

REPORTER:A moment ago, I believe you met with Governor of Osaka Hashimoto and others. Would you be able to say a little bit about what was discussed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The President of the Union of Kansai Governments is Governor of Hyogo Prefecture Ido and the Vice President is Governor of Osaka Hashimoto. In terms of the notion of transferring control to local authorities, the two came here to present a new proposal for the Union to assume control, for which there is no precedent.

REPORTER:What was your response to the request, to the proposal?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Actually, an action plan for this was approved by the Cabinet in December of last year. I understand that a meeting on this is being held right now. According to the plan, it hadbeen generally decided that a legislation that crystallizes the action plan will be submitted to the ordinary session of the Diet next year. However, after 3.11, the preparations got slightly held up and some of the work had stopped. Therefore, the two persons asked that the work is quickly undertaken. I asked for their understanding about the inevitable slight delay which resulted, and I responded that it was our intention to draft the legislation by the end of next year's ordinary session of the Diet.

REPORTER:Acting Secretary-General Tarutoko of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came to the Prime Minister's Office, and Prime Minister Noda has given instructions regarding correcting the difference in weight attached to one vote. Acting Secretary-General Tarutoko has said that he would like to pass a bill at the extraordinary session of the Diet to abolish the system in which one seat is allotted to each prefecture. This may require some time for the establishment of electoral districts and the get-acquainted period. During this period, the Prime Minister's right to dissolve the House of Representatives may inevitably be restricted. What are your views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I do not believe that the Prime Minister's right of dissolution will somehow be restricted because of the actions of the Council on the House of Representatives Electoral District. If the House of Representatives is dissolved during this time, I believe this will be carried out under the existing system.

REPORTER:In the event that the House of Representatives must be dissolved due to political decision, do you judge that no problems will be faced?


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