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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, July 19, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  • The Prime Minister's visit to northern Kyushu, area affected by the recent heavy rain

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Tomorrow, Friday, July 20, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is scheduled to make a one-day visit to Kumamoto, Oita, and Fukuoka Prefectures to observe the damage caused by the heavy rain in northern Kyushu. I understand that the details of the itinerary are now being arranged.


  • The deployment of Osprey transportation aircraft to Okinawa
  • TEPCO's future electricity price hike

REPORTER: I would like to ask about Osprey. The United States (U.S.) Government has told the Japanese Government that Ospreys will arrive at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on July 23. Can you explain this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have not yet heard that the unloading schedule has been finalized or decided. Once it is decided, we will inform the relevant municipalities.


REPORTER: Regarding a related matter, the other day, the Prime Minister stated in a TV program that the deployment (of Ospreys) itself is a basic policy of the U.S. Government. I would like to ask, what is the reason for the Government to show such consideration to the U.S. Government amidst strong opposition in Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: On the matter of showing or not showing consideration, I believe it is actually the U.S. which has shown consideration, for example, in stating in its host nation notification that it will refrain from any flight operations of Osprey in Japan until the results of the investigations are presented to the Japanese Government and the safety of flight operations is reconfirmed. I understand such a statement is rather unprecedented. The Government will naturally continue to strongly urge the U.S. to provide information at an early date, such as about the investigation results and safety. Regarding the information which is obtained, we will provide careful explanations to the local people. Through these measures, we will continue to make every effort to obtain the understanding of the people. That is our stance.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the electricity price hike of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). I believe this morning, three ministers met and decided on a price hike of 8.47%. What was the idea behind the Government's decision on this number? Also, I believe the percentage has been trimmed quite a bit from TEPCO's initial application. Do you believe with this value you will be able to obtain the understanding of consumers?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to explain the facts. This morning, at 8:30am, Minister Yukio Edano and Minister Jin Matsubara came (to the Prime Minister's Office) to report on the adjustments made pertaining to TEPCO's application for a price hike. Minister Matsubara, in view of the consumer perspective as the Minister in charge of the Consumer Affairs Agency, conducted a very detailed review (of TEPCO's application) and compiled a proposal. Minister Edano accepted all items of the application, which assume decommissioning and payment of compensation, among other elements. In this way, both ministers fully coordinated with each other and reached an agreement. A variety of costs were examined, including TEPCO's personnel expenses. As Minister Matsubara has said, all items in his proposal accepted, which assume stable supply, decommissioning, and payment of compensation, were accepted. The Minister has carried out a detailed review from the consumer perspective, and I believe he has said that it was significant that this contributed to trimming the number. At the same time, if TEPCO falls into excessive debt, which in turn would affect the progress of TEPCO's payment of compensation and decontamination efforts, then this would be another severe situation. Therefore, I believe that the Government decided on a borderline, lowest possible percentage both for the Government and TEPCO.


REPORTER: In this regard, concerning the forthcoming schedule, has the schedule of meetings, such as the meeting of the Ministerial Council on Prices, already been finalized?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Regarding the way forward, first, a meeting of the Ministerial Council on Prices will be held, at which the appraisal policy will be determined. Then, as the percentage of the price hike (determined today) is different from that of TEPCO's application, TEPCO will be instructed to modify the content of its application. Following this, if it is confirmed that revisions were made as instructed, then the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry will give permission (for the price hike). As of now, the timetable for this has not yet been finalized. We are now in the stage of arranging the timetable.


REPORTER: I am sorry to return to the issue of Osprey, but I would like to ask whether the position of the Government is that unloading is one of the procedures, and therefore, is unavoidable or that there is no other choice but to accept it?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As the host country, naturally, we understand that the procedures are moving forward steadily.


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