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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, October 1, 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 transfer of Ospreys to Futenma Air Station to Okinawa (the Prime Minister's message on the MV-22 Osprey aircraft)
  • The appointment of a new Special Adviser to the Cabinet

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to discuss the extraordinary Cabinet meeting, which was held a moment ago. The Prime Minister made a statement to the effect that he decided to reshuffle the Cabinet today. Afterwards, letters of resignation by the Cabinet members were collected. Regarding the forthcoming schedule, there will be a meeting among the leaders of the ruling parties at 12:45 pm and a press conference by the Prime Minister here at 1:15 pm. I have submitted my letter of resignation just a while ago. I would like to thank and express my gratitude to everyone for all of the guidance I have received until today.

Next, I would like to read out a statement concerning the transfer of Ospreys to Futenma Air Station in Okinawa. We received information earlier that today, United States (U.S.) Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys left Iwakuni Air Station for Futenma Air Station and have arrived. In this regard, I would like to read out the message that Prime Minister Noda issued, which has been distributed to you.

"Taking seriously the concerns of the people of Okinawa regarding the MV-22 Osprey aircraft, the Government investigated the causes of the mishaps and conducted a series of discussions at the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee on measures to prevent the recurrence of similar mishaps as well as to ensure the safe operation of the MV-22 in Japan, and reached a conclusion. Based on the results that were recently released, the Government believes that the safety of the aircraft has been sufficiently confirmed.

The MV-22 is a highly capable aircraft that will constitute a core capability of the U.S. Marine Corps, and its deployment to Japan has great significance for the security of Japan. Meanwhile MV-22 flight operations are based on the premise that maximum considerations will be given to safety as well as to the lives of the residents in the area. I ask for the understanding of the people of Japan and of those in the local communities.

At the same time, I have renewed my recognition that the people of Japan as a whole need to take to heart the burden borne by the people of Okinawa since the end of the war.

Based on this viewpoint, the Government will step up its efforts to reduce the burden on Okinawa and advance its development, including the earliest possible relocation and return of Futenma Air Station. Furthermore, from the standpoint of reducing the burden on Okinawa, we will work hard to share the burden across the country, including taking concrete steps toward relocating MV-22 flight training to the mainland."

I have one more announcement. It is about a personnel decision. Effective today, October 1, Mr. Hiroto Izumi, the previous Secretary General of the Regional Revitalization Bureau of the Cabinet Secretariat, has been appointed as the Special Advisor to the Cabinet. A little while ago, Mr. Izumi received a letter of appointment from the Prime Minister. Given the fact that he has a great deal of expertise and knowledge in such fields as regional revitalization and urban renaissance through his work at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the Cabinet Secretariat, he will be asked to provide the Prime Minister with information and advice concerning the implementation of the Comprehensive Strategy for the Rebirth of Japan, in particular, on the promotion of regional revitalization, among other matters.


  • The transfer of Ospreys to Futenma Air Station in Okinawa


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question related to the Osprey aircraft. The transfer took place in the form of a forced deployment amid strong local protests. What are the Government's thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Let me elaborate a little more on the Prime Minister's message, which I read out a moment ago. I believe the accidents in Morocco and Florida spread worries and concerns about the Osprey among the people of Japan, especially among the people in the areas (hosting the aircraft). Therefore, the Government of Japan conducted its own analyses and assessments with the involvement of experts. A conclusion was reached that the investigations found no grounds to believe that the Osprey is particularly more dangerous than other aircrafts. In addition, at the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee, through a series of discussions it was confirmed that sufficient measures to prevent the recurrence of accidents were incorporated, and it was agreed that sufficient considerations will be given to the local residents and that maximum safety measures will be taken. Taking these into consideration holistically, the Government believes that it was sufficiently confirmed that the Osprey is safe to operate in Japan. However, our efforts to provide thorough explanations will still continue going ahead.


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