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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, July 6, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  • An overview of the Cabinet meeting
  • The appointment of a parliament secretary
  • A meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Child and Youth Support
  • Sanctions against Syria

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 15 general measures, as well as cabinet decisions and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning the addition to the list  for measures to freeze the assets of Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad and his related individuals and entities and the prohibition of services to Japan for charter flights using Syrian aircraft. The Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism made a statement concerning the FY2011 White Paper on Land, Infrastructure and Transport in Japan. I made a statement concerning acting  Ministers during the period when Ministers in charge are away on an overseas visit.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Okada made a statement concerning the launch of a team to examine the system for compilation and disclosure of minutes of Cabinet meetings and other official minutes. The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made a statement concerning the establishment of a liaison meeting among related ministries and agencies on food security in times of emergency.

Next I would like to make an announcement concerning the appointment of a parliamentary secretary. As of today, July 6, it has been decided by the Cabinet to appoint member of the House of Representatives Mr. Tetsuo Inami as Parliamentary Secretary of Internal Affairs and Communications, and the Prime Minister has recently presented Mr. Inami with his letter of appointment.

Next I would like to report that prior to the Cabinet meeting, a meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Child and Youth Support was held, at which the Second Basic Plan on Measures for Providing Safe and Secure Internet Use for Young People was decided. Based on the new challenges facing the internet environment for young people, this second basic plan sets out priority measures for the next three years, which national and local governments, as well as private sector organizations, will implement through concerted actions. The Government will continue to work closely with related bodies and organizations to steadily promote measures in accordance with the basic plan, seeking to realize as soon as possible an environment in which young people can use the internet safely and securely. For details, I ask that you forward your questions to officials in charge of Policies on Cohesive Society of the Cabinet Office.

I have one more item to report, concerning sanctions against Syria, which were mentioned by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Cabinet meeting. Since March last year, the widespread oppression of the people of Syria implemented by Syrian authorities has caused the death or injury of what is said to be more than 10,000 people. The Government of Japan has already implemented sanctions, including a freeze of the assets of a number of Syrian government-related figures. However, the oppression and violence are continuing in Syria. Accordingly, in order to contribute to the international efforts aimed at the resolution of this issue, from today, the Government has decided to add three further individuals to the list of those government-related persons and others subject to the measures such as freezing of assets. Including measures implemented to date, the total number of individuals subject to the measures now stands at 23, with measures also being implemented against 16 entities. In addition, the Cabinet also approved measures to prohibit charter flights using Syrian aircraft from entering Japan. Furthermore, the individuals subject to freezing of assets and other measures have also been subject to stricter review on the issuance of visas by Japan, and the three individuals designated today will similarly be subject to these stricter visa issuance measures. In terms of trade, Japan has in place measures that prohibit in principle the export and import of arms to all countries, not limited to Syria, and therefore Japan has already put in place arms embargo against Syria. The Government expects that these measures will contribute to efforts by the international community to bring an end to the violence in Syria.


  • Sanctions against Syria
  • Restarting operations at nuclear power stations
  • Measures for internal exposures to radiation which was pointed out by the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission

REPORTER: I have a point of confirmation with regard to the sanctions imposed on Syria. What kind of people are the three individuals who have been newly added to the list for a freeze on assets?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The three people who have been designated on this occasion are persons connected to the Syrian government and military.

REPORTER: Will the freeze of assets for these additional people and the prohibition of services to Japan by charter flights using Syrian aircraft both go into effect from today?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: To the best of my knowledge there has to date been no case in which a charter flight using a Syrian-registered aircraft has entered Japan. The decision made today will go into effect from today, but the fact of the matter is that up to now there have been no charter flights from Syria, nor will there be in the future, following today's decision. (Abridged) The freeze of assets will also go into effect from today.


REPORTER: I have a question relating to the restarting of operations at the nuclear power station. Every week on Friday there has been a demonstration in front of the Prime Minister's Office and today the demonstration was of a particularly large scale. In response to the continuing actions opposing the decision by the Government to restart nuclear power stations, what will the Government be doing to seek the understanding of the public from now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Given that the restarting of operations is currently specifically related to Oi Nuclear Power Station of Kansai Electric Power Company, the Government will continue to take various opportunities to send out various messages to local residents, and also from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). As has been noted on previous occasions, it is the responsibility of the Government to have made a judgment on a significant issue that could divide public opinion. Oi Nuclear Power Station has cleared issues relating to safety and operations are proceeding under a thorough and stringent structure that includes a special monitoring system. These are the points that the Government will seek to explain further, using various forums and opportunities.

REPORTER: On a related note, the people who are taking part in such demonstrations, as well as others, seem to be of the opinion that although Prime Minister Noda has been stressing the importance of moving away from a style of politics that is averse to making decisions, and instead work to ensure that such decisions are made, it is a concern for voters that the Prime Minister is making such decisions, including on not only the issue of the restarting of the nuclear power stations, but also consumption tax and other issues, without a due mandate provided through an election. What is the Noda Administration's response to such opinions and concerns?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First of all, as I have just mentioned, the case of Oi Nuclear Power Station of Kansai Electric Power Company is one for which explanations will be provided in various forums by utilizing various opportunities. In addition, with regard to the issue of the mid- to long-term energy mix, which was announced last week, this is something that will have to be opened to due national debate, and we have now entered that phase. In that sense, the Government seeks to further promote debate in various formats about the mid- to long-term energy mix, and nuclear power generation in particular.


REPORTER: In the report issued yesterday by The National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) it is noted that neither the national nor prefectural governments have prepared any sort of plans to accumulate data on internal exposure to radiation. What is your opinion of this observation in the report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: With regard to this matter, it is the case that surveys of internal exposure to radiation are being carried out in Fukushima Prefecture using whole body counters. It is also stated in the report by the NAIIC that these surveys are being conducted outside the framework of the prefectural health management study project. The national government is supporting these efforts and is steadily seeking to enhance the survey structure, including increasing the number of whole body counters available in the prefecture. The report of the NAIIC also notes that among the 2 million people living in Fukushima Prefecture, at the point ten months after the accident approximately 40,000 people had been examined for internal exposure, either by the prefecture or at hospitals. As of the end of May this year, the figure had reached 45,000 people. In addition, the prefecture has a policy of ensuring that all pregnant women and children are to be examined, and measures to this end are steadily being implemented. There was a further observation concerning poor cooperation with regard to the utilization of the results of examinations, and it is now the case that efforts are being steadily implemented towards the compilation of a health management survey database, which will contribute to the health management of the residents of the prefecture and also help to create a strong structure, for cooperation among all entities involved, in the health management of residents. Naturally, the Government will accept the observations contained in the report of the NAIIC with all due seriousness.

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