Friday, May 11, 2012 (PM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
- The upcoming Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting
- The concept of an East Asian Community
REPORTER: The Prime Minister will be leaving for Beijing tomorrow. How does the administration position the Trilateral Summit Meeting among Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK)? Can you discuss its significance?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting held its first meeting in Fukuoka in December 2008, and this will be the fifth meeting. The aim is to push ahead with the strengthening of the trilateral cooperation, by making progress on the Japan-China-Korea Trilateral Investment Agreement or the Japan-China-ROK free trade agreement (FTA). As I have responded until yesterday, with regard to the Japan-China-ROK FTA in particular, as the industry-government-academia joint study stage was completed in December of last year, one of the items which are being worked out right now is ensuring that progress is made on the FTA. In addition, Japan will once again urge China and the ROK to repeal or ease import restrictions or travel restrictions vis-?-vis Japan. Furthermore, a candid exchange of views will also take place among the three countries on the North Korea issue or the international situation in light of their utmost importance to the region. Broadly speaking, I believe this is what is expected to take place.
REPORTER: I have one more question. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administration used to promote the concept of an East Asian Community. What is the current status of this concept? Also, the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting will be convened the day after tomorrow. What is the Noda administration's view regarding the basic strategy for Asian diplomacy?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes. When this question was also raised at the Diet in September of last year, after the Noda administration took office, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda answered this question. Prime Minister Noda views that, more than putting forward just this broad concept, what is important is to make steady efforts to address the immediate challenges. This does not mean that Prime Minister Noda denies the concept of an East Asian Community in any way or has forgotten about it. Prime Minister Noda is running his government based also on this kind of idea. At the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting, since the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific, as well as China's constructive role or the contributions of neighboring country, the ROK, are essential to the Rebirth of Japan, from this standpoint, Japan would like to actively participate in the discussions of this framework of trilateral cooperation and engagement on the common, vital issues facing the region.
REPORTER: Sorry, are you saying that the concept of the East Asian Community is still alive, that the administration is carefully thinking about the concept?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It is exactly how Prime Minister Noda responded in September. I believe the approach being taken by the Prime Minister is to make steady efforts to address the immediate challenges, with the premise that the concept of the East Asian Community is not being ignored or forgotten. I believe Prime Minister Noda previously stated that rather than a broad vision like an East Asian Community, he would like steady efforts to be made - and I believe the efforts will gradually expand from this region to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and so on. It does not mean that the concept of the East Asian Community itself no longer exists.
REPORTER: Regarding a different matter, I believe before lunchtime today, Senior Vice Minister of Cabinet Office Tadahiro Matsushita came here to report on the contents of his meeting yesterday with Governor of Fukui Prefecture Issei Nishikawa. Can you discuss the contents of this and your thoughts and the Prime Minister's thoughts in light of this report?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes. Senior Vice Minister Matsushita met with Governor Nishikawa of Fukui Prefecture yesterday and came to report on the message that Governor Nishikawa wanted the Minister to convey to the Prime Minister. In the message, the Governor asked that the Government carry out the following, based on a firm stance or readiness, and resolve, under Prime Minister Noda's leadership: 1) Ensure that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) take thorough initiatives for some time to come; 2) Make efforts to set up the Nuclear Regulatory Agency as swiftly as possible; 3) Proceed with the implementation of the safety measures necessary for restarting operations of Reactors No. 3 and 4 of Oi Nuclear Power Station with further clarity; 4) Sort out the safety measures in a clear manner and provide explanations that shed light on the short-term and mid-term issues; and 5) Continue to draw on additional information that becomes known from the knowledge of Fukushima. We received a report on these statements that Governor Nishikawa made yesterday. Today, we only received a report and did not discuss this.