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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 (AM)

[Provisional Translation]
JAPANESE

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Since this press conference follows the Cabinet Meeting, I would first like to give an overview of the Cabinet Meeting. Approval was made on 13 general and other matters, Cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. Concerning ministerial comments, Prime Minister Noda commented on the appointment of acting Ministers during Ministers in charge are on overseas trips.

In ministerial discussions, Minister Shozaburo Jimi commented about his visit to Europe and Minister Motohisa Furukawa about his visit to the United States.

After the Cabinet meeting, a meeting by the Central Disaster Management Council was held. In the meeting a report was provided by an expert panel on countermeasures to earthquake and tsunami that take into consideration the lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and reports were made on the undertakings by relevant ministries and agencies for future disaster prevention countermeasures. Next, a decision was made to establish the Council on the Promotion of Disaster Prevention Measures. We look forward to the Council holding productive discussions towards further strengthening Japan's disaster prevention measures. Please forward any inquiries to the Minister of State for Disaster Management for more details.

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER:Related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), discussions by related ministers are scheduled to start today, and you have said that discussions will also be carried out in meetings held by the Council on National Strategy (tentative name). Please comment on the relationship between these two meetings and, as discussions are to commence today, what you are currently planning to discuss?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Today, we plan to hold the sixth Ministerial Meeting for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA). In today's meeting, in light of the orders of Prime Minister Noda, an opinion exchange will be held on the situation of negotiations for the TPP Agreement and how to progress in the future with regard to other bilateral EPAs. As to its relation with a new meeting structure, a framework that encompasses the overall image for the new meeting structure has yet to be determined, so for the immediate future these ministerial meetings on the FTAAP and EPAs will be used today to assess the situation of EPAs and the TPP. For now, discussions have been started on the TPP in the ministerial meeting.

REPORTER:Yesterday, the Prime Minister expressed that he intends to put together an agricultural revitalization action plan by the end of October. Concerning the timing for putting this plan together and the timing of reaching a conclusion in discussions on the TPP, in terms of a schedule, do you intend to first compile the agricultural revitalization action plan and then reach a resolution on the TPP in light of that plan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Ultimately, I believe that is what will happen. The revitalization of the food, agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries remains an issue that must be addressed regardless of what decision is made about joining TPP Agreement negotiations. The Government intends to compile concrete measures to revitalize the agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries during October in accordance with the mid-term recommendations made by the Council for the Realization of the Revival of the Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery Industries in August of this year.

REPORTER:There is tremendously strong resistance to joining the TPP from perspectives related to the agricultural industry. You indicated that you intend to compile the action plan before reaching a conclusion on the TPP. At present, what kind of plan do you hope to draft in consideration of TPP-related issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:As I have said, the TPP and the revitalization of the food, agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries are not directly related. This issue is important in and of itself and during October we intend to finalize the plan that we have been putting together since August. So the issues are not directly related.

(Abridged)

REPORTER:Yesterday, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Policy Research Council Chair Seiji Maehara met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Kim Sung-hwan, who again raised the issue of the right to demand compensation by so-called "comfort women." Mr. Maehara expressed the Government's view that... while also alluding to the idea that there may be room to consider the issue from a humanitarian perspective. Please clarify the Government's conventional stance in response to this comment.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Well, to quote Mr. Maehara's comments accurately, the conventional position of the Japanese Government - in other words that both Japan and the ROK have resigned the right to make further claims and that undertakings to rectify wartime misdeeds have already been completed - is still the position of the Government today. That position has not changed and, with that recognition as a premise, there may be room for considering some sort of humanitarian assistance. It is specifically the Government and Cabinet, who oversee Japan's foreign affairs, that are considering this issue, and once a direction is solidified, the DPJ will be providing thorough backup to support relations between Japan and the ROK. The party intends to provide backup assistance if the Government comes up with any - there is no change in the Government's position on this matter until now.

REPORTER:Do you mean to say that the Government maintains its position this issue was resolved in the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea concluded in 1965?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:That is correct. I have said this several times, but the property claims that exist between Japan and the ROK were completely and conclusively resolved in the Agreement Between Japan and the Republic of Korea Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard to Property and Claims and on Economic Cooperation. In efforts to provide practical relief to former comfort women that have now become elderly citizens, the Government and citizens cooperated in establishing the Asian Women's Fund, through which we have exerted every effort, but that Fund has already been dissolved. We will make full efforts as we engage this issue in order to continue following up on this project.

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