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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, August 31, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The Takeshima issue
  • Japan's future energy policy
  • Japan-China relations
  • Japan-North Korea relations

REPORTER: Governor of Tokyo Ishihara stated in his press conference earlier, that when he met Prime Minister Noda on August 19, he told the Prime Minister that he would like a port and other facilities constructed in the Senkaku Islands. He also said that today was the deadline for receiving an answer from the Government. What is the response of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I stated previously, the truth is that this meeting was held between Governor Ishihara and the Prime Minister, and I believe at today's press conference, Governor Ishihara noted that House of Representatives member Sonoda was present at the meeting as a witness. I believe your question was about the Government. The Government, however, is not aware of any of the contents of the meeting. Let me be accurate. I do not know any more than the fact that the talks were held between the leaders, the Governor of Tokyo and the Prime Minister.


REPORTER: I presume that in order for Prime Minister Noda to ultimately give an answer to Governor Ishihara, the Government must naturally review the matter internally. Are you saying that the Government has not even started reviewing the matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It is a fact that the Government has been in consistent contact with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the landowner with the aim of nationalizing the Senkaku Islands. We are exchanging information and conducting analyses on a daily basis. However, frankly speaking, I have not been informed about such specific contents either officially or within the Government.


REPORTER: At recent meetings of committees of the House of Councillors, both Prime Minister Noda and Minister for Foreign Affairs Gemba used the term "illegal occupation" in regard to Takeshima. Past Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administrations have used different terms, not "illegal occupation," after the party took control of the government. Does this mean that from now on, the Noda administration will describe the situation of Takeshima as "illegal occupation"?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe the Foreign Minister stated the reason for this change in terminology in response to questions. Prime Minister Noda used the same terminology, and it is OK to say that the term is being used to express the view of the Noda Cabinet.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question on Japan's future ratio of dependency on nuclear power that is now being reviewed by the Government. I believe the Government was unable to reach a conclusion by the initially set target date, which was by the end of August. By around when does the Government want to reach or obtain a conclusion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: We have indeed been saying that we would like to reach a conclusion by the end of August. As today is already the end of August, I believe a conclusion will be reached after our target date. It remains unchanged that the Government will responsibly decide on a policy as soon as possible. We would like to hold a meeting of the Energy and Environment Council that decides on the strategy early next week if possible. Meanwhile, an energy and environment research committee has been established within DPJ, and this committee is conducting an intensive review. While keeping an eye on the discussions of the DPJ committee, we would like to firmly work together with the committee.


REPORTER: Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Yamaguchi and State Councilor Dai Bingguo met and agreed that President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Noda will hold a meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting. What is the aim of the meeting at APEC?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have spoken a number of times to date on the so-called broad relations between Japan and China. I believe the intent of the meeting is to continue to develop such bilateral relations from a broad perspective in a stable manner.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Japan-North Korea intergovernmental consultation. I understand that with regard to the future agenda, the two sides concurred to discuss issues of great concern to both sides. Can you tell us your thoughts on this? Also, is it correct to understand that the issues of concern to Japan include the abduction issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe the Japanese Director in charge of the preliminary consultation stated in his briefing to the press in China that, as you said a moment ago, the two sides will make arrangements to hold a higher level Japan-North Korea intergovernmental consultation in Beijing at the earliest possible date, that the two sides will coordinate to hold wide-ranging discussions at the intergovernmental consultation on issues of mutual concern, and that these arrangements will be made through the embassy channel. Naturally, the abduction issue is included in the issues of concern to Japan. There is no doubt that the abduction issue is a major issue of concern to the Japanese side.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in relation to the Japan-North Korea intergovernmental consultation. While it is becoming likely that the abduction issue, which is of great concern to the Japanese Government, will be discussed at the consultation, are any compromises being made by the Japanese Government at this stage, such as providing some kind of assistance to North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The consultation will be held from now on, and furthermore, at a higher level of government. The consultation that was just convened is a preliminary consultation for the official consultation. However, of course, in the preliminary consultation, I understand that, for example, Japan carefully explained its views, including on the abduction issue, and North Korea fully understood the views of Japan.


REPORTER: I have a related question. In terms of security, for example, there is the missile issue and the nuclear issue, and you said in your press conference the other day that you understood that the agenda includes the suspects of the Yodo-go hijacking incident and the issue of the repatriation of Japanese wives (who moved to North Korea with their North Korean husbands in the 1960s). What about these issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Let me once again repeat what I stated. The agenda of the preliminary intergovernmental consultation naturally included the issue of the remains (of Japanese people left in North Korea after the war), which was agreed at the meeting between the Japanese and North Korean Red Cross societies on August 9 and 10. In addition to issues pertaining to Japanese people, we would also like security matters to be taken up in the consultation. You just mentioned Yodo-go and so on. Issues of mutual concern will be broadly taken up in the consultation. Therefore, moving forward, the contents of the consultation will be coordinated and confirmed through the so-called embassy channel.

REPORTER: While I assume Japan of course wants to have the abduction issue on the agenda, is it correct to understand that North Korea has agreed to have the abduction issue on the agenda?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Japan is of the view that issues of great concern to both sides will be dealt with at the consultation. Naturally, Japan will discuss the abduction issue.

REPORTER: What is your frank view on the fact that the Japan-North Korea consultation has moved to the next step?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: While the preliminary consultation was held at the director level, I understand that discussions took place very sincerely and candidly and were quite in-depth as a working level consultation. It should be welcomed that as an outcome of today's consultation, the consultation on issues of mutual concern will move on to the next, higher level.

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