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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:I have a question on the National Strategy Council. I believe Prime Minister Noda positions this Council as a "control tower" overseeing important national policies. If, as you said earlier, the Council does not deal with, for example, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the issue of taxation and social security, I get the sense that the Council moves slightly away from this image of being a "control tower" overseeing important policies. What are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe the policy speech noted that a strategy to revitalize Japan will be unveiled by the end of the year. In that sense, rather than dealing with the immediate issues we have at hand, the Council will be strategically examining those issues which are slightly more mid- to long-term. Indeed, weight will be given to the Great East Japan Earthquake and bringing the nuclear accident to a conclusion, as well as to the issues of the Japanese economy and fiscal health in the context of the current global society. The discussions have gradually moved toward this direction.


REPORTER:Slightly changing the topic, my question concerns the message by Prime Minister Noda to an international symposium aimed at the abolition of nuclear weapons that was held in the United States (U.S.) yesterday. I understand the message was a first for a Japanese prime minister. What was the background and intent of delivering this message?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Being the only country to have ever suffered from atomic bombings, Japan has stood in the forefront and consistently called for nuclear abolition at various international forums. At this Global Zero Summit, which aims to eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide, attended by Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Nagashima, it was decided that Japan will convey its resolve to take the lead on international disarmament and non-proliferation efforts in a realistic and incremental approach, based on the conviction that the tragic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons must never be repeated. Thus, the Special Advisor broughtthe Prime Minister's messagewith him. In the message, which I believe has already been released, Japan called for the U.S. and Russia, in particular, to continue their efforts for further reductions, and expressed hope that such development will lead to advancement of global nuclear disarmament involving other countries possessing nuclear weapons. In Northeast Asia, where Japan is located, large-scale military capabilities including nuclear weapons exist and uncertainties still linger. In this context, Japan expressed that the firm commitment of the U.S. to extend its deterrence for the defense of its allies and friends is reassuring. This was the message for nuclear abolition which Japan delivered at this forum as the only country to have suffered from atomic bombings.


REPORTER:Regarding your visit today to the Regional Disaster Prevention Base in Tachikawa, can you speak about the intent, contents, and outcomes of your visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Earlier today, I visited the Tachikawa Regional Disaster Prevention Base and the Tachikawa Substitute Facility of the Government Headquarters for Disaster Countermeasures. In the event that there is a serious, abnormal, and catastrophic disaster, such as an epicentral earthquake in Tokyo, the Basic Act on Disaster Control Measures provides for the establishment of an emergency response headquarters, and the Tachikawa facility is fourth in line. The first is the center of the Prime Minister's Office, second is the Cabinet Office Building No. 5, third is the Ministry of Defense facility in Ichigaya, and Tachikawa is the fourth. There are concerns about an epicentral earthquake occurring in the future as pointed out by experts, and we recognize that taking countermeasures are critical. In that sense too, I felt that there was a need to observe the Tachikawa Substitute Facility at an early date and have an understanding of the situation. That is why I visited the facility. Since the facility is fourth in line, I pray that I will not ever be going there. However, in the event of an emergency, I believe a variety of functions will be necessary. My understanding is that the Tachikawa Facility possesses the minimum necessary functions to serve as a substitute facility of the Headquarters for Disaster Countermeasures in all aspects, including information processing and communication functions, material and equipment arrangement functions, and supply stockpiling functions. On the other hand, in the sense of taking all possible measures to ensure the facility's disaster countermeasures functions, I believe there are a couple of points for improvement. For example, regarding the information processing function, I sensed that the equipment was getting a little old -- as advancements are made truly constantly. Also, practical drills including the installation of equipment have hardly been conducted to date. On Disaster Prevention Day on September 1, I believe a drill was conducted for relocating the Tachikawa facility. However, no major drills for actually relocating the headquarters to the Tachikawa facility have ever been conducted, and this is something we may need to do. Additionally, I believe the emergency electricity supply is a little insufficient. A power generator capable of producing 1,000KVA of electricity is supposed to last around one week. However, this may not be sufficient. Also, no simulations have yet been conducted for the method of assembling the necessary personnel in these situations and so forth, and this, too, may be something that is necessary moving forward.

REPORTER:How and by when do you expect to make these improvements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe respective instructions will be given out and then considerations will begin to be made for implementing these improvements. Equipment, etc., however, will also need to take the budget into consideration.

REPORTER:I have a question related to the Prime Minister's visit to China. Minister for Foreign Affairs Gemba has expressed his desire to advance value-oriented diplomacy with countries which share the fundamental values of, for instance, democracy or rule of law. When the Prime Minister next visits China, how will Japan interact with China from this perspective? What will be the Prime Minister's stance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe this is something you will need to ask the Prime Minister directly. I think what Mr. Gemba has said is his own view. I believe it is better that you ask the Prime Minister directly about how different or similar his views are. However, I think everybody probably shares the view that China is Japan's neighboring country in East Asia, very close to Japan, and furthermore is a major country, which is now indeed Japan's biggest economic partner and therefore an important country. Even if some problems were to arise moving forward, naturally I believe the Prime Minister holds the view that he would like to forge win-win relations with China and further enhance our mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests.


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