Monday, March 26, 2012 (PM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
REPORTER: Minister Takeshi Maeda stated in his response to questions at the Diet that of the four islands that serve as base points for the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near the Senkaku Islands, Kitakojima in Taisho Island was registered as a national asset on March 23. I believe the island was excluded when the Government registered islands as national assets last summer. What is the reason for newly registering the island as a national asset? Also, I believe three base points remain near Kuba Island. What is the status of the considerations for these islands?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: One island near Taisho Island did not have a name previously, and therefore, was not listed in the national property register. However, because the island has been named, it was listed in the register just last week, on March 23, to clarify that the island is a national asset. With regard to the three islands near Kuba Island, I believe very soon, within a few days, officials will be going to confirm with the owners of Kuba Island to make sure that they will be continuing to own the islands as part of Kuba Island.
REPORTER: Again, just to make sure, you noted a moment ago that officials will be going there to confirm. Then, what if hypothetically speaking they say that they do not own the islands. What would be the Government's response then?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: From what I understand now, that will not be the case. If the islands are indeed disclaimed, then I presume that the islands will become ownerless and naturally procedures will be taken for the Government to assume ownership. I understand though that this will not be the case.
REPORTER: I have a question on the restarting of operations at nuclear power stations. The procedures of the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) as regards Oi Nuclear Power Station have concluded. You have said that the meeting among the four ministers is expected to take place without leaving too much time in between. What is the schedule?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Although I am always asked about the schedule, we are currently in the process of gauging the confirmation findings of the NSC. We intend to hold the meeting among the four ministers once it is confirmed, for example, that the safety necessary for the restarting of operations is ensured. No schedule or other details have been decided yet.
REPORTER: Regarding a related issue, can you discuss whether the Government has any intention or plan to ask the NSC to provide a direct explanation in order to make a political decision about the restarting of Reactors No. 3 and No. 4 of Oi Nuclear Power Station?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: We do not have such intentions or plans at this moment.
REPORTER: I understood that until now the four newly named islands were given a name but were not registered because there were clear territories and islands in the vicinity and they will serve as base points. However, is the interpretation different now? Can you explain once again what the reason is for registering the island that was previously only named and not registered?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In principle, if there are owners identified, then it was considered that they are owned by them. And in the case of national ownership, going back to what I said earlier, while Taisho Island itself is nationally owned, the surrounding small islands did not have names and were therefore not registered. However, since the one island near Taisho Island was given a name, on this basis it was listed in the registry to clarify that it is a national asset. If islands are owned by civilians, then of course they are the owners. However, with regard to the three islands near Kuba Island, they have been given names and just to be sure we will be confirming with their civilian owners. That will be the procedure.