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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER:When Minister for Foreign Affairs Gemba met with Mayor of Nago City Inamine today during his visit to Okinawa, I believe Mayor Inamine once again requested that Japan advise the United States (U.S.) to scratch the plan to locate the replacement facility in Henoko. It seemed that the two had some very tough negotiations in terms of advancing the Japan-U.S. Agreement. In the context of the series of visits to Okinawa made by the key ministers, how does the Noda administration intend to obtain the understanding of Okinawa moving forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:With the three ministers now having visited Okinawa in succession, we agree that we all need to meet together once, but the date has not been decided. I believe I will be able to answer your question after the meeting. Nothing has been decided at present.

REPORTER:I have a related question. Mayor Inamine has made some critical remarks about the approaches taken by the previous administrations, saying that they have indicated no signs of effort or attempt, that only ideas are tossed around and that it is hard to believe they have made any sincere effort. How does the Noda administration view the assessment of the previous administrations and will it be taking stock of the assessment for future negotiations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:While I have reservations about an overly one-sided discussion, I believe the fact of the matter is that we are carrying on the efforts which have been made persistently and we will continue to make efforts.

REPORTER:The summit meeting between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), the first bilateral summit meeting for the Noda administration, has just finished. What is the overall impression of the Government regarding this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The Prime Minister has not yet returned, but I am aware of the contents of the press briefing held by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito over there a moment ago. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito said that his impression was that while this was the first meeting, it was very relaxed and constructive. I am told that this first meeting, held among a small number of people, took place in a very congenial atmosphere, in which the leaders confirmed with one another not only that Japan and the ROK share fundamental values but that the leaders also have common intentions as politicians, and the two leaders conducted discussions with a true sense of trust. And, I understand that the leaders agreed to actively promote reciprocal visits in the future. They agreed to activate "shuttle diplomacy" at the summit level, as well as to realize President Lee Myung-bak's visit to Japan at the earliest possible date. Also, Prime Minister Noda requested improved access to documents originating from Japan. That is my current understanding based on the press briefing given by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito, which I believe was attended by various members of the accompanying press.

REPORTER:On the other hand, it also appears that no concrete progress was made on the longstanding issues of the abduction issue or the economic partnership agreement (EPA) or North Korea's nuclear issue. What is your own personal view on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I received a phone call from Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito a moment ago, and he explained the general atmosphere and the things I mentioned. It is a little hard to imagine that progress will be made by meeting once for a number of minutes. According to the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary's impressions which he shared a moment ago, however, the two leaders' views are truly in sync with each other and we can be hopeful.


REPORTER:Yesterday, Minister Komiyama stated that the implementation of health examinations will also be considered for children in areas other than Fukushima Prefecture. How does the Government intend to study this matter moving forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I just reviewed Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Komiyama's statement, and it seems that she said, "If the dose is high in an area outside of Fukushima Prefecture's border, we will look into seeing what can be done in consultation with the city and prefecture, naturally based on the situation in Fukushima Prefecture and other order of priority, comparing the dose value with the environment monitoring data." While her comment is being interpreted as a general statement, I have not yet heard anything specific about the Government undertaking such a study, which you just asked about. If the relevant ministries and agencies determine that there is such a need based on the monitoring data from various areas and the needs of municipalities and so on, I believe at that point I will be consulted.

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