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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, October 24, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Upon learning of the demise of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on Saturday, October 22, Prime Minister Noda issued a statement in which he expressed, on behalf of the Government and the people of Japan, his heartfelt condolences to the Al-Saud family, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Arabian people. Following the demise of Crown Prince Sultan, arrangements are currently being made for His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince to attend the funeral, accompanied by former Prime Minister Hatoyama as a special envoy of the Government. Yesterday the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Gemba paid a visit to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tokyo to express their condolences and sign the condolence book.

Next, with regard to the earthquake that occurred in Van Province in eastern Turkey on October 23, today Prime Minister Noda and Foreign Minister Gemba sent messages of sympathy to Prime Minister Erdogan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Davutoglu, respectively. In these messages the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister expressed their heartfelt condolences for the people who have fallen victims to this disaster and offered sympathies to the families, and voiced the hope that the people affected would be able to recover quickly and that reconstruction will be achieved in the near term. They also indicated that Japan stands ready to provide all the assistance it can provide to Turkey.



REPORTER:Concerning the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, today members of the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives delivered a petition to you containing many signatures in order to make a request concerning the TPP. Could you tell us what was the nature of the request and what topics you covered in your discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:In the meeting I explained that I have directly received various opinions both for and against the TPP from a number of different organizations and associations. I also explained that discussions on the issue are being advanced within the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and that I was unable to give a specific answer at the current point. If you are asking about whether I used the word "thorny" to describe the issue, I did indeed use this word.


REPORTER:Do you think that if the party makes a decision then it will not be particularly necessary for the Government to engage in discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:No, that is not the case. There are various ministers within the Government, each with its own portfolio and therefore it will be necessary for discussions to be advanced within Government also, with the Government making a final decision.

REPORTER:In previous press conferences you have stated that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting will be the milestone for discussions and therefore, if you are considering finalizing discussions by the time of APEC, do you anticipate that the DPJ will identify a policy direction approximately one week prior to the Prime Minister's departure for the APEC meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The DPJ has indicated that it seeks to come to a decision by the beginning of November and I expect that such an outcome will be achieved. I have never mentioned a specific deadline for either the party or the Government's considerations and discussions.


REPORTER:With regard to the high levels of radiation that have been detected in Kashiwa City in Chiba Prefecture, can you tell us whether the Government's current understanding is that this radiation originated from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Over the weekend I have been involved in discussions and considerations on this matter. With regard to the high levels of airborne radiation that have been confirmed in Kashiwa City, from yesterday representatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) have been onsite in Kashiwa. In addition to requesting safety measures, including entry restrictions to the areas concerned, on the basis of the analysis performed by city authorities, MEXT dispatched a team of staff members and experts from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), which implemented onsite analyses. The results of these analyses show that at a height of 1m above ground there are some areas that have a reading of 2.0 microsieverts per hour. The results of radionuclide analysis performed by Kashiwa City on contaminated soil have detected high concentrations of radioactive cesium 134, which suggests that there is a high possibility that the radioactive cesium originated from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). In addition, the results of the investigations by MEXT have detected cracks in the gutters at the side of the road in the vicinity of where the high concentrations of radiation were detected. It is therefore hypothesized that as radioactive cesium has been detected in this area, it is likely that the cesium was washed into the soil through the cracks in the roadside gutters, where it further accumulated and became more concentrated. At the current point, sand has been laid over the affected area and plastic sheets have been laid over the sand layer, which has brought the levels down to 0.64 microsieverts per hour at a level of 1m above the ground. From now, based on the response policy to areas outside Fukushima Prefecture reporting high concentrations of radiation that I announced on Friday last week, decontamination measures will be implemented by the Ministry of the Environment and the Cabinet Office's Team in Charge of Assisting the Lives of Victims around the Nuclear Power Plant in cooperation with local governments. In the case of Kashiwa City I believe that the local government is already holding a meeting with these bodies this evening.


REPORTER:This morning a situation occurred in which two fisheries patrol ships from China entered the contiguous zone off the coast of the Senkaku Islands, and they are apparently still in the same location. Since the incident last year in which a fishing vessel collided with a Japan Coast Guard (JCG) vessel, this is the 14th occasion on which a Chinese fisheries patrol ship has entered the waters off the Senkaku Islands and it is becoming an almost normal occurrence. What is the Government's view of this situation and what is the background to the Government's stance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I would first like to confirm the facts of the matter at hand. Today at shortly after 5:00am a patrol vessel of the JCG that was on patrol in the contiguous zone off the northern coast of Kuba-jima Island, discovered two Chinese fisheries patrol ships, "Gyosei 201" and "Gyosei 35001." Subsequently both vessels have repeatedly entered and departed the contiguous zone off the northern shores of Kuba-jima and Taisho-jima Islands and I have received a report that they are currently making passage westwards. During their passage the Chinese vessels did not enter Japan's territorial waters. For details please direct your questions to the JCG. However, as you point out, this is the 14th time since last year for such an incident to occur. In addition to issuing warnings to vessels not to enter Japan's territorial waters, the JCG will continue to maintain a state of surveillance and vigilance. It goes without saying that the Senkaku Islands are both historically and under international law an integral part of Japan's sovereign territory, and the Prime Minister's Office will continue to coordinate closely with the ministries and agencies concerned and maintain the required level of surveillance and vigilance. The background to the current matter is being analyzed but I would like to refrain from commenting at this point.


REPORTER:I asked a similar question in the press conference this morning, but it appears that new information has emerged at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., concerning the cyber attack. Does the Government intend to make a new response in view of the recent incident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is making preparations to launch an initiative for sharing cyber-related information with manufacturers engaged in the production of machinery and equipment used in key infrastructure. As I previously reported, in response to the cyber attack on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries the Government has established a working group under the Information Security Policy Council, which was held on October 7, to strengthen public-private cooperation. This working group will examine the various methods for improving liaison and cooperation between the Government and private sector companies and the first meeting was held on October 14. This working group will continue to engage in thorough examination of the recent incident and other measures. This was a matter that originated at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and we will seek to respond with due seriousness and care.

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