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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, October 31, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:In relation to countermeasures against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), today, a committee was launched within the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and discussion has started on revising import restrictions and so on. In light of the start of discussions, has the Prime Minister's Office ever consulted with the MHLW or given them any instructions concerning how to advance or the timing of discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:We have not given any instructions to the committee concerning these discussions. To speak briefly about the facts, I have been told that this morning a subcommittee of the MHLW's Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council held discussion on the regulated limit of radioactive materials in food products and a reassessment of BSE countermeasures. I have said this before, but exactly 10 years have passed since Japan started countermeasures for BSE, and we, as well, have believed that a reassessment based on the most recent scientific knowledge must be carried out on all countermeasures, including the domestic inspection structure and import conditions. Going forward, work will be advanced and then I understand that the MHLW will submit a request for deliberation to the Cabinet Office's Food Safety Commission - will conduct consultations.

REPORTER:On a related subject, perhaps due to the fact that 10 years have passed already, the United States, France - with which Japan recently held summit meetings - and other countries are requesting that Japan ease its import restrictions. How does the Government intend to pay consideration to these requests?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe that other countries share a similar line of thought with us, so these requests are a sort of nudge to remind us that 10 years have in fact passed. However, Japan has started the reassessment of BSE countermeasures independent of the other countries' requests.

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