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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, April 19, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Test-launch of a ballistic missile by India
  • Missile launch by North Korea
  • Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito's visit to the ROK
  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The next International Hydrographic Conference (in relation to the name "Sea of Japan")
  • Restarting operations at nuclear power stations (proposals submitted by local governments)

REPORTER: India has successfully test launched a ballistic missile. It appears that this missile has a range that could almost reach Japan. What is the reaction of the Japanese Government to this test launch?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: India is a country that is not subject to any kind of ban by the international community on the development of ballistic missiles. Accordingly, with regard to the recent launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by India, the Government will engage in analysis of the impact this launch could have on regional and international peace and stability, and consider its response on the basis of such analysis.

REPORTER: On the occasion of the recent launch of the ballistic missile which North Korea was calling a satellite, the Japanese Government demonstrated a very strong response, including calling for United Nations sanctions and also considering the imposition of sanctions of its own. As Japan is the only country in the world to have experienced atomic bombings, what is your frank opinion of the launch of the missile by India, which itself possesses nuclear weapons?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In the recent case of the launch by North Korea, it is a fact that North Korea is prohibited from engaging in development of ballistic missiles by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. If North Korea implements a launch in contravention of these resolutions, it is therefore natural for it to be criticized by the international community. However, in the case of India the situation is as I have just described. For Japan, as the only country to have experienced atomic bombings, the Government is examining ways to respond to the launch.

REPORTER: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito is scheduled to visit Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK). What is the purpose of his visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Bearing in mind that after the Golden Week holidays the Prime Minister will be attending a Trilateral Japan-China-ROK Summit, I have heard that Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito is visiting Seoul not to discuss any specific issues, but rather to consult about the agenda for the summit meeting and set out agenda items for discussion.


REPORTER: Yesterday in your press conference, you stated that press reports that claimed that information on the missile launch by North Korea was detected by EP-3 and conveyed to the Prime Minister's Office are totally groundless. What parts of these press reports are groundless?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to reiterate the statement I made in the press conference yesterday. Firstly, with regard to the specific information-gathering activities of the Ministry of Defense, although I would like to refrain from commenting due to the nature of these activities, they did not acquire information that could confirm the recent launch of the missile by North Korea. Secondly, the press reports that the information gathered by EP-3 and the Tachiarai Station of the Defense Intelligence Headquarters of the Air Self-Defense Force was then swiftly reported to the Prime Minister's Office are entirely groundless, which is something I also stated yesterday. The Cabinet Secretariat has issued a formal protest concerning the second point. With regard to the first point, I am aware that the Ministry of Defense is making a response.


REPORTER: Today an Opinion in Writing was passed by majority at the Ishigaki City Assembly in Okinawa Prefecture, calling for the Central Government to purchase the Senkaku Islands and sell them to Ishigaki City. What is the Government's response to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Opinion in Writing has already been passed by the city assembly and its contents have been posted on the city's website. Although I have not received the document in question, I would like to repeat that there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. There have been a number of comments made recently by the Governor of Tokyo and others concerning the Senkaku Islands, and the Government will make efforts to gain an understanding of the facts of the matter, including the intentions of the Governor of Tokyo and the owner of the islands. The Government is also engaged in various considerations concerning a policy that will ensure the peaceful and stable maintenance and management of the Senkaku Islands.

REPORTER: However, in the Opinion in Writing that was passed by Ishigaki City Assembly, there is criticism of the Japanese Government for not making sufficient efforts to exert effective rule over the islands in terms of relations with China. What is your response to this criticism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The criticism that has been stated will be duly taken on board, but I would reiterate that the Government's basic stance is as I have just mentioned. The Government will continue to make various responses and take measures in accordance with this basic policy.


REPORTER: Changing the subject, the International Hydrographic Conference of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) will be held next week. With regard to the name of the Sea of Japan, the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been increasingly calling for international support to list the name that the ROK uses in the international guidelines, which are being developed by the IHO on the names of oceans. What is the Government's opinion of the ROK's assertion? Also, what steps is the Government taking to prevent this name from becoming the established name?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am aware of the reports. If I may explain this carefully, the IHO has been working to revise the names of oceans and seas from the past. Japan, too, is participating in this work. In view of Japan's relations of trust with member countries and the Secretariat, at this time I will refrain from discussing the details of the exchanges we had with the countries or the Secretariat on the assumption of non-disclosure. At any event, the Sea of Japan is the only name that has been established both internationally and historically, and this name for the ocean and sea has been used consistently. The basic position of the Government of Japan is that there is no need or grounds for any change to be made to the practice of using only the name "Sea of Japan," including in the aforementioned publication. The Japanese Government will continue to consistently underscore this position, including at forums of the IHO.

REPORTER: According to Mr. Shinji Tarutoko, there were discussions at today's meeting among the senior members of the Government and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) that the Government will be carefully carrying out the seven proposals compiled by the Governors of Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures. What are the next steps that the Government intends to take?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The party said that very constructive proposals were received from the Governor of Fukui Prefecture, as well as the Governor of Kyoto Prefecture and the Governor of Shiga Prefecture. The Government stated that it intends to address these proposals carefully.

REPORTER: Does this mean that the Government's response to Osaka's eight proposals will be different?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City have first requested to visit (the Prime Minister's Office), and the date is now being arranged. I believe any work on Osaka's proposals will begin by first carefully examining the contents and accepting the recommendations. If an explanation is requested, the persons in charge from the Government will also go there to give an explanation. That is the plan. Since the meeting has not taken place yet…the date has not yet been decided.

REPORTER: Yesterday, the Governor of Osaka Prefecture stated in his press conference that he would like to make a visit next Monday, on April 23. What are the arrangements being made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes, we have received his request to visit, so the date is being arranged. Since we also have other engagements, the date will be arranged.

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