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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, October 17, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:There have been media reports that the Government is considering making a request to China for the loan of a panda to a zoo in one of the disaster-affected regions. If this is true, what stage have the Government's considerations reached and could you tell us the intention and purpose of such a request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe your comment refers to media reports not about the Government making a request, but rather that the City of Sendai making a request to China for the loan of a panda and that the Government is supporting the negotiations with China. I am aware that Sendai has made a request to China for the loan of a panda. If this request can be fulfilled it would be a pleasure for the Government as well. However, this is primarily a matter between a local government and China and at the current point it is not the case that the Government is engaged in any specific efforts in negotiations with China.

REPORTER:Has Sendai city requested help from the central government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I do not believe that such a request has been made yet.


REPORTER:Today Minister of Defense Ichikawa is visiting Okinawa and has formally conveyed to Governor Nakaima of Okinawa that preparations are being made to submit an environmental impact assessment report before the end of the year concerning the relocation of the Futenma Air Station to Henoko. This is the first time that the Government has formally conveyed such information. Could you tell us more about the schedule the Government has in mind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe that the environmental impact assessment report will be submitted by the end of the year. This is something that is still in progress at the working level. The governor of Okinawa will then have a certain period, I believe it is 90 days, to make a decision concerning the report, so it is not something that will be decided immediately. Until then procedures will be advanced at the working level.


REPORTER:I have a question on the issue of beef produced in the United States. In an attempt to eliminate reputational damages about agricultural produce arising from the nuclear accident, Japan has been calling for other countries not to impose excessive import restrictions. However, with regard to beef produced in the United States, for a number of years the United States has continually stressed that the restrictions imposed by Japan are excessive. Given this background, it seems that it is difficult for Japan to attain their understanding in continuing its restrictions on U.S. beef. What response does the Government intend to make to this matter from now? If the restrictions remain in place, are there concerns that they could have an impact on Japan-U.S. relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I have also seen media reports on this issue. I believe it is approximately 10 years since the emergence of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) issue. In that sense this is an issue that also relates to the examination of all cattle in Japan, and it is a fact that efforts are being made in Japan at the working level to finalize a response to this matter. Rather than being an issue concerning Japan and the United States, it is the case that consideration is being given to this matter independently.


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