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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I have several things to report. First, a Government-RENGO Summit Meeting was held this morning from 11:00am. From the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO), the meeting was attended by President Nobuaki Koga, Deputy President Hideaki Tokunaga, Deputy President Naomi Okamoto, Vice President Tomoyasu Kato, Vice President Kohichiro Nishihara, Vice President Rikio Kouzu, and General Secretary Hiroyuki Nagumo. From the Government of Japan, the meeting was attended by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Tastuo Kawabata, Minister of Finance Jun Azumi, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Yoko Komiyama, Minister for the Restoration from and Prevention of Nuclear Accident Goshi Hosono, Minister for National Policy Motohisa Furukawa, Minister for Civil Service Reform RENHO, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries Tsuyoshi Saito and Hiroyuki Nagahama, Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seishu Makino, and myself. Also, from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the meeting was attended by Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi, Acting Secretary General Shinji Tarutoko, and Deputy Secretary General Koriki Jojima. An exchange of opinions was held at today's Summit meeting that centered around immediate policy issues, such as the third supplementary budget, and consensus was reached on continuing to hold these Summit talks in the future.

Next, just moments ago we held the sixth Ministerial Meeting for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), which was established on November 15 of last year by the Ministerial Committee on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships. This marked the sixth meeting since the establishment and the first meeting since the launch of the Noda Cabinet. In the meeting, a report was made on the situation of TPP Agreement negotiations by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an exchange of opinions was held on the policy on informing citizens concerning the TPP Agreement as well as future efforts with regard to other bilateral agreements such as EPAs. I would like to refrain from commenting in more specific detail about the discussions at this time.


REPORTER:With regard to the policy for providing information about the TPP Agreement, Minister Yukio Edano has expressed his opinion that a forum should be established where citizens could be provided easy-to-understand explanations. In the past, initiatives such as the "Opening Japan Forum" have been undertaken, but specifically what type of forum will be established and how do you intend to convey this information in an easy-to-understand manner?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The Opening Japan Forum was held a total of three times, and was then disrupted due to the Great East Japan Earthquake. One way of continuing such efforts is similar locally based forums, but that would take a great deal of time to set up. Another option that has currently been tabled for consideration is to hold several forums while broadcasting discussions via the Internet until locally based forums are established. Agreement has been met on beginning administrative preparations on these two plans for now.


REPORTER:In today's meeting you intended to share the latest information on the 24 areas being discussed in relation to the TPP. How do you plan to disclose this new information to citizens in the future? On the other hand, some DPJ Diet members feel that there is a lack of information. What form of disclosure are you considering at the moment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:We cannot directly gather information through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for example, at the moment due to preparatory meetings in Chicago, and as Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba is about to travel abroad again. As such, we will gather various pieces of indirect information and hold ministerial meetings as needed, and continue to provide information to the party. In terms of information directed at citizens, I just mentioned two future themes for consideration, and we intend to provide explanations in those considerations. Furthermore, we will be providing information to the various related organizations as soon as ministry staff have acquired relevant information.


REPORTER:I understand that the Prime Minister was not present in today's meeting, but where do you think that Prime Minister Noda will announce a major transition in such a national policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Today's meeting was conducted under my supervision, and is not a framework that the Prime Minister is scheduled to attend. But it is true that former Prime Minister Naoto Kan had joined midway through in the past. Moving forward, even when the Government launches a new meeting structure, this meeting will continue to hold discussions and due to the time lag it is very conceivable that the Prime Minister may attend when necessary. At the same time, however, considerations are to be carried out within the party, so a report will likely be received in forums such as the Government-DPJ senior officials' meeting as well as from the chair of the DPJ Policy Research Council.


REPORTER:In the initial greeting at the meeting moments ago, Minister Furukawa emphasized the necessity for Japan to open its doors, commenting that Japan must open itself to economic growth in light of declining birthrates and the progression of aging. Is it correct to say that this is also the view of Prime Minister Noda?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Since February of this year, "the 21st-century opening of Japan," which was proposed by former Prime Minister Kan, has been upheld, and based on this the Opening Japan Forum has started. It is correct to say that we are continuing those efforts.


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