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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, January 23, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]




REPORTER: The European Union's (EU) Foreign Affairs Council has indicated that it will decide to implement sanctions on Iran as early as today, including an import ban on crude oil. I believe that Japan also held working-level talks with the United States. In light of these developments, please again clarify the Government's policy on negotiations.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Working-level talks with the Untied States were held here in Tokyo until last Friday. Meetings were held with United States Department of States Special Advisor Robert Einhorn and Department of Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Glaser. I have reported this before, but Japan shares the same concerns about the Iranian nuclear problem with the United States and the rest of the international community. Japan thus communicated that it intends to continue cooperating with the United States and the international community. Japan then expressed that it would be considering a response so that the operation of the United States' National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) does not impact the Japanese economy or the crude oil market. Japan indicated that it has cut imports of crude oil from Iran by 40% over the past five years and that we would continue to make reductions moving forward. The United States side said that it would hold the next round of discussions in the near future, as the waiver procedures of the NDAA in question have yet to be crystallized. We agreed that we would continue to hold close discussions. With regard to Europe - I believe that they are to decide today, so no decision has been made yet, but - Japan must cooperate with the United States and the EU to an adequate degree moving forward.

REPORTER: When do you think the next round of talks will be held, or, when do you intend to reach a conclusion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: No decision has been made with regard to the timing of the next round of talks; however, I think that they will be held in the not so distant future. These discussions are with regard to the NDAA, which will be effective over limited periods of time, perhaps weeks at a time, I do not think that talks will be postponed for very long.


REPORTER: Yesterday, at a talk held in Fukushima Prefecture Minister Koichiro Gemba commented that he has invited a field agency of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Fukushima Prefecture in response to the nuclear accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Please comment on the authenticity of these comments and, if true, what the aim is for inviting the agency to Fukushima Prefecture.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Minister Gemba's comments were with regard to holding an international conference on nuclear safety, to be hosted by Japan together with the IAEA, in Fukushima Prefecture. Considerations are currently being made in aim of holding the international conference in Fukushima. Considerations are still being made concerning where exactly in the prefecture the conference will take place, and I believe that a decision will be made in the days ahead. Did the minister comment about a field agency?

REPORTER: Yes, he did. I think that is about a conference, but the press, at least, is reporting about a field agency.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe that the minister was referring to the conference.


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I will look into the issue.

REPORTER: Thank you very much.


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