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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, April 20, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have one item to report, concerning the establishment of the Liaison Meeting of Ministries and Agencies concerning Crude Oil Issues. Since the end of January this year the rise in crude oil prices has resulted in a steady increase in domestic petroleum products. Very recently there has been a slight drop in petroleum product prices, but given the concerns about the impact a further rise in prices could have on daily life and economic activities in general, the Liaison Meeting of Ministries and Agencies concerning Crude Oil Issues (headed by Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Sasaki) has been established. The first meeting was held at 1:30pm today in the Cabinet Office meeting room, and was attended by director general-level participants from the ministries and agencies concerned. The meeting will share information on the recent trends in crude oil and petroleum product prices and I have given instructions that the meeting should make strong efforts to initially monitor these trends, both in terms of international crude oil prices and domestic petroleum product prices, and assess any impact on consumers. For further information, please direct your inquiries to the office of the Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary, which is acting as the secretariat for the meeting.


  • Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito's visit to the ROK
  • Missile launch by North Korea
  • Restarting operations at nuclear power stations


REPORTER: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito is currently visiting Seoul and he has confirmed that he is carrying a personal message from Prime Minister Noda. Are you aware of the contents of this message?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As of yesterday I had not directly heard anything about Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary taking a personal message from the Prime Minister. As for the content, I hear that it contains general courtesies, but I understand that the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary himself has stated that he does not know the content as he has not opened the letter.

REPORTER: Have you confirmed whether the letter contained anything about the issue of wartime "comfort women"?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am not aware of any of the specific contents of the letter.


REPORTER: The government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has announced that it has detected a further missile remaining at the missile launch site at Tongchang-ri in North Korea. Is the Japanese Government aware of this information and if it is the case that another missile is still at the launch site, what is the Government's view concerning the possibility of another launch?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am aware of the reports about this matter. The Government of Japan also has been working with the greatest interest to collect and analyze information concerning the various developments with regard to the launch of the missile which North Korea was calling a "satellite". However, given the nature of contents I would like to refrain from commenting on specific information. Whatever the case, the Government seeks to continue to make strenuous efforts to collect and analyze information about the various developments in North Korea, from the perspective of ensuring the peace and security of Japan. In the case that it appears that there would be a direct impact on the security of Japan, we would provide information and explanations to the public in an appropriate manner.


REPORTER: With regard to the restarting of operations at nuclear power stations, in his press conference this morning Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Edano indicated his view that other than Oi Nuclear Power Station, which has already been discussed in the forum of the Meeting among Four Ministers on the Issue of Nuclear Power Stations, there is no prospect of the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC)implementing confirmations and verifications on other power stations, and therefore other cases should wait until the inauguration of a new regulatory agency. Is this view one that is generally shared by the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: After listening to Minister Edano's comments, I think his emphasis was somewhat different to what you suggest. First of all, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has already confirmed a verification of the results of the primary assessment (stress test) at the Unit 3 reactor of Ikata Nuclear Power Station, and has submitted the results of its findings to the NSC. With regard to the restarting of operations, as I have stated on numerous occasions, the prescribed procedure is that once NISA has confirmed the primary assessment (stress test) implemented by the power station operator, the results of NISA's findings will be submitted to the NSC, which will confirm and verify their validity. I believe that what Minister Edano stated was basically about the current situation, in which unless the NSC engages in deliberation and verification the process to restart operations cannot proceed.


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