Thursday, May 10, 2012 (PM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This afternoon, at a meeting among the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, and myself, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) reported on the study findings of its fact-finding mission to South Sudan, whose dispatch had been approved with regard to the South Sudan peacekeeping operation (PKO). This was followed by information sharing and an exchange of views. In the fact-finding report of MOD, it was reported that the military tension between the South and the North was limited to the border area at present, and that this had no particular impact on the operations of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). Based on this report, with regard to the situation in South Sudan and the five principles of participation in PKO, the three ministers discussed the matter. And in view of the assessment that the South-North military tension is currently limited and that the five principles of participation in PKO have not collapsed, we shared the recognition that the situation does not particularly interfere with the dispatch of the second unit, including the engineering unit of the South Sudan International Peace Cooperation Corps. I understand that based on the outcome of today's meeting among the three ministers, the Minister of Defense is expected to order the dispatch of the second unit as soon as preparations are complete.
- The dispatch of the second unit of the Self-Defense Forces to the UN peacekeeping operations in South Sudan
- Future meeting between Prime Minister Noda and former DPJ President Ozawa
- The Promotion and development of Okinawa
- GPS jamming signals by North Korea (The ROK's protest)
REPORTER: Regarding the South Sudan PKO that you just discussed, specifically, what is the general timing you have in mind for the dispatch of the second unit?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As the Minister of Defense is expected to order the dispatch as soon as preparations are complete, I ask that questions on the specific schedule are forwarded to MOD.
REPORTER: Does this mean that there will not be much of a delay from the initial plan?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes, there is no evidence of delay.
REPORTER: I have a related question. According to the initial plan, the timing of the dispatch is set for after late May. Is my understanding correct then, that the timing will be set for as quickly as possible after late May?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This is something which will be determined by MOD. It is uncertain at this moment whether the schedule will necessarily be as you said, as preparations are now starting to be made. I ask that you please ask MOD.
REPORTER: Concerning the size of the dispatch unit, in the initial plan it said around 300 personnel. This, too, remains unchanged?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes, that remains unchanged. For details, I ask that you please forward your questions to MOD.
REPORTER: A moment ago, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi said that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and former DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa should meet. Up to now, you have said that there isn't any problem with members of the same party holding a meeting. What is your view on the necessity of the meeting between the two people?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I also said yesterday, there is nothing strange with the party President and party member - a central figure even, who formerly served as President - to meet as necessary when it is necessary. I understand that Mr. Koshiishi noted his intention to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Noda and former President Ozawa. While this is something I heard about just a moment ago, this is about the party's internal affairs and my understanding is that this is the view of Secretary General Koshiishi.
REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in regard to the measures for the promotion and development of Okinawa. Today, new basic guidelines for the promotion and development of Okinawa were compiled for the most part, whose main pillars include a plan to construct a second runway at Naha Airport. May I first ask what your thoughts are on this proposal?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, as you are aware, two laws were passed unanimously at the end of March. The laws set forth that the Government will prepare basic guidelines on Okinawa's promotion and development. A meeting of the Okinawa Promotion Council was held a moment ago, and I understand that the Council responded that the basic guidelines were "appropriate." The Government recognizes that the guidelines are extremely important for breathing life into the new laws and for the completion of Okinawa's promotion and development. Therefore, the Government would like to swiftly approve the guidelines, and the Cabinet to make concerted efforts to further advance Okinawa's promotion and development. Moving forward, the Okinawan people will be establishing a so-called promotion and development plan based on the guidelines. So the Government looks forward to the establishment of the promotion and development plan, and it anticipates that the matter which you raised in your question just now will also be included in the specifics of the plan.
REPORTER: Regarding the order of procedure, I believe until now, the Government had been giving authorization to a plan prepared by the prefecture. Now, in order for the prefecture to take the lead, the flow has shifted to the Government first preparing the plan followed by the prefecture. Can you once again explain the significance of this?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: One of the reasons has to do with the fact that the FY2012 (budget) gives the greatest scope of autonomous discretion in terms of grants to local governments, especially Okinawa. I do believe there is a new trend developing in which Okinawa draws up its own various plans for Okinawa promotion and development.
REPORTER: With regard to Okinawa, the issue of the Futenma base weighs heavily on the Government and Okinawa. What is your understanding in terms of the impact that the Government's consultations with Okinawa on the promotion and development measures will have on overall issues, including the base issue?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I have reported from time to time since September of last year, the Noda Cabinet has made some concrete progress on a number of issues concerning Okinawa. Also, with the two new laws passing unanimously in March, I believe there will indeed be new developments, that is, I believe things are now moving along nicely in the direction that the Okinawa side, too, wishes. Of course, it is a fact that there are also major longstanding outstanding issues.
REPORTER: If I may, I would like to return to the subject of the Prime Minister and Mr. Ozawa. Do you believe that as a result of their meeting, Mr. Ozawa's cooperation can be obtained for the bill to increase the consumption tax?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Has the meeting been decided? As the Secretary General is now making the arrangements, the Government is not in a position to respond to such questions which get us ahead of ourselves.
REPORTER: At the end of April, a Republic of Korea (ROK) aircraft operated by Jin Air, which was headed to Incheon from New Chitose Airport, faced GPS troubles as a result of North Korea's GPS jamming signals. It is reported that today the ROK Government will protest North Korea's sending of jamming signals. Can you discuss the Japanese Government's thoughts and response on this?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: According to reports, the ROK spokesperson briefed that the ROK Government has decided to request North Korea to immediately stop sending GPS jamming signals and to prevent its recurrence. The Japanese Government of course has been gathering a variety of information and conducting analyses. While I cannot comment on the contents, we understand that this was the action taken by the ROK.
REPORTER: Related to this, I believe many Japanese people were also aboard those flights, and furthermore, the GPS systems of other Japanese airlines were affected. Will the Japanese Government consider lodging a protest and so on?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As has already been reported, we, too, understand that GPS is a backup device for aircrafts, and therefore, we do not believe that there was any definitive danger. We understand that what the ROK Government requested was the suspension and prevention of recurrence.
REPORTER: Changing the subject, according to what Minister Koichiro Gemba disclosed to some media, there was a plan immediately after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to evacuate 500,000 residents within a 50km radius. Can you verify the facts? Also, if this is true, can you describe the specifics of the plan?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Some media…was this Asahi? I see. First, although it says that this was disclosed in the interview, we do not fully understand exactly on what grounds such an article was written. Also, I have not heard that there was a specific plan.
REPORTER: I am sorry to again return to the topic of former President Ozawa, but while you said a moment ago that the Government is not in a position to respond to matters that get ahead of ourselves, does the Government have any expectations with regard to the realization of such a meeting?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: While I do not know if you are trying to extract expectations from my statements, we will be calmly watching over - we are, after all, the Government. I do not have the authority to make a statement now from the position of the party. We will be calmly watching over.