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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, July 9, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  • Revising power saving targets along with the restart of operation at Oi Nuclear Power Station Unit 3 reactor

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In the early morning today, the Unit 3 reactor of Oi Nuclear Power Station reached constant operation at rated thermal output. As such, pursuant to the decision reached at the joint meeting of the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting and the Energy and Environment Council on June 22, power saving targetswill be revised from tomorrow, July 10. The power saving targets for the service area of Kansai Electric Power Company will be changed from the current goal of more than 15% compared to the previous year to more than 10%. Also, regarding the power saving targets for the service areas of the three electric power companies of Chubu, Hokuriku, and Chugoku, which have been  set at more than 5% compared to the previous year, the targets for Chubu and Hokuriku will be changed to more than 4% and the target for Chugoku will be changed to more than 3% - equivalent to the amounts of electricity which can be saved reasonably (with minimal stress and low cost or with investment recovery). When the restarting of the Unit 4 reactor of Oi Nuclear Power Station becomes certain, the Government will once again decide and announce the revised power saving targets. Our outlook at this time (if the Unit 4 reactor is restarted) is that, due to the electricity provided by electric power companies other than Kansai, the power saving request which is made to the service areas of the Chubu, Hokuriku, and Chugoku electric power companies will be able to switch from the current request that is accompanied with a numerical target, to a general request that will not be accompanied with a numerical target. In addition, regarding the power saving target for the service area of Shikoku Electric Power Company, we believe the target can be lowered from the current target of more than 7% compared to the previous year to more than 5%. Regarding the power saving target of Kansai Electric Power Company, the Government will review and decide the goal upon once again hearing the opinions of the relevant stakeholders. At this time, work is under way to restart the Unit 4 reactor (of Oi Nuclear Power Station). Of course, there is a possibility that the process will be delayed due to troubles and other problems along the way. Accordingly, we ask that everyone uphold the power saving targets which will be decided tomorrow for some time to come while remaining vigilant.


  • Vehicle ramming against the main gate of the Japanese Embassy in Korea
  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The deployment of Osprey aircraft

REPORTER: A truck was rammed into the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. What are the Japanese Government's thoughts on this and what is its response, including protest against the Republic of Korea (ROK)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The facts are as follows. Around 4:58am today, a truck rammed into the main gate of the Embassy of Japan in Korea, damaging the main gate of the Embassy. The driver of this vehicle was arrested immediately at the scene by ROK authorities. In response to this incident, this morning, the Embassy of Japan in Korea lodged a strong protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the ROK and requested that the ROK take measures to prevent the recurrence of such an incident.


REPORTER: Looking ahead to the nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, what kind of negotiations will the administration be pursuing? What is the Government's current intention?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I have been saying all along, there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent territory of Japan in light of historical facts and based upon international law. The Senkaku Islands are now under the valid control of Japan. Therefore, there exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands in the first place. The Government, in accordance with Japan's consistent position on the Senkaku Islands, has been conducting rigorous and appropriate patrols of waters around the Senkaku Islands, and will continue to conduct patrols by taking thorough measures. Now, there is discussion of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's purchase of the Senkaku Islands. The Government will be endeavoring to gauge the specifics of this, and is presently having various kinds of contacts on a variety of levels from the viewpoint of continuing to maintain and manage the Senkaku Islands peacefully and stably. Moving forward, the Government intends to reach a comprehensive judgment by taking all of these into consideration.

REPORTER: In relation to this, the Governor of Tokyo has said that the purchase will proceed most smoothly if the Tokyo Metropolitan Government first acquires the Senkaku Islands and then the Government purchases them. I understand that the Governor has mentioned this also to the Prime Minister. Does such a possibility exist?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Government is exchanging a variety of information with both the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and of course the owners. The respective discussions are substantive, and I would like to refrain from making any further comments.


REPORTER: Concerning this issue, now that the Government has announced intent to acquire the islands, if the Tokyo Metropolitan Government requests landing permit to conduct an on-site survey with a view to acquiring the islands, does the Government have any intention to refuse such a request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, while there seem to be reports that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government requests to go ashore, no specific discussion has taken place at this point in time. When such discussions do take place, the Cabinet will decide the response by comprehensively considering, for example, the necessity of landing, the will of the owners, and the purpose of the Government's leasing of the Senkaku Islands, which is to maintain and manage them peacefully and stably.

REPORTER: These negotiations to purchase the Senkaku Islands - with these coming out into the open, China and Taiwan have been voicing objections. What is your view regarding their impact on diplomacy and how will you be dealing with this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am aware that China and Taiwan, respectively, issued statements based on their own assertions regarding the territorial sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. Furthermore, China and Taiwan, through their respective diplomatic channels - in the case of Taiwan, through the Interchange Association, Japan (IAJ) - made requests based on the aforementioned statements. In response, Japan communicated its consistent position on the Senkaku Islands, which I stated earlier, and replied clearly that Japan will not accept their requests.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding Osprey. Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the United States (U.S.) told Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba that the U.S. intends to proceed with the Osprey deployment as planned. What are the thoughts of the Government on this? Also, as local (Okinawa and Iwakuni) opposition strengthens, is the understanding of the Government that the U.S. will change equipment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I will not repeat what was discussed at the Clinton-Gemba meeting, as this has already been reported. Minister Gemba candidly informed Secretary Clinton that the deployment is met with very strong opposition from people in Iwakuni, Okinawa, and the rest of Japan. Secretary Clinton discussed her views yesterday and stated that the U.S. will spare no effort to ensure the highest safety standards. We do not believe the situation has changed in any way since the meeting.

REPORTER: Does the Japanese Government have any intent to set up some kind of special system to evaluate and analyze the information or investigation results that the U.S. will be providing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe several options or choices are being considered under the Minister of Defense. In any case, when we obtain the investigation results, the Japanese Government as a whole will be thoroughly verifying them, and furthermore, provide careful explanations to the local people (in Okinawa and Iwakuni). This is the procedure that we will follow.

REPORTER: My question is on Senkaku. As you stated a moment ago, the Senkaku Islands are now under the effective control of Japan. In this context, what would be the purpose of switching from the lease agreement of the Government to nationalization? Can you explain the reason a little more clearly?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The purpose is to continue to maintain and manage the Senkaku Islands or their surrounding waters peacefully and stably. The lease is something which is arranged on a yearly basis. Naturally, I believe there is intention to make such arrangements more stable, among other reasons.

REPORTER: So you are saying that there were no external factors which have recently prevented Japan from maintaining and managing the islands stably under the existing lease agreement?



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