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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  • The Prime Minister's plan to visit Fukushima Prefecture

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have an announcement regarding the itinerary of the Prime Minister. This weekend, Sunday, October 7, Prime Minister Noda is scheduled to make a follow-up visit to Fukushima Prefecture where he visited in July. This will be the Prime Minister's fifth visit since the inauguration of the Noda Cabinet. Specifically, he is expected to visit Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and observe the Unit 4 nuclear reactor building and other facilities. In addition, he is expected to confirm the progress of the handling of the nuclear power station accident as well as give encouragement to those on site who are dealing with the accident. The Prime Minister will also observe the full-fledged decontamination work being carried out in Naraha Town and the inspections of all bags of rice which are being implemented in Motomiya City, and see the initiatives being made toward the reconstruction of Fukushima. That is the schedule.


  • Statement made by Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Tanaka on Japan's energy policy
  • The relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko
  • The Senkaku Islands


REPORTER: I have a question on the statement made by Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Tanaka, which is slightly related to the question that was asked yesterday. Minister Tanaka stated that it was contradictory for the Government to aim to have zero operating nuclear power stations by the 2030s while continuing on with the nuclear fuel reprocessing program. Meanwhile, Minister Maehara stated at his press conference yesterday that "contradictory" should not be uttered casually and that this opinion was inappropriate. Some point this out as a difference in views within the administration. What are your views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe it is necessary to have a range of debates within an administration. It would be abnormal if all members made the same statements. If I may briefly speak on this matter concerning Minister Tanaka, first of all, the decision not to change the existing policy on nuclear fuel cycle was the outcome of a variety of extensive discussions held at the Energy and Environment Council and the Council on National Strategy and Policy, among other meetings. With regard to enabling the realization of zero operating nuclear power stations by the 2030s, something which has been asked about various times to date, this is a goal related to expanded policy resources, including green energy. When the time comes when the zero operation of nuclear power stations becomes possible, or when it is likely to become possible with great certainty, concrete discussions will emerge about the way forward. At the same time, the nuclear fuel cycle issue entails a variety of issues, including our relations with the international community, renewable energies, or the future international energy situation. It is difficult right now to foresee everything with certainty. It was based on this concept that it is necessary to maintain a humble attitude and to have flexibility that the innovative strategy for energy and the environment was formulated through extensive deliberations. Ms. Tanaka, the new Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, stated that she will study these various matters going forward, and on this basis, I believe it is good to have a range of discussions. I do believe, however, that it is necessary to carry through with what the Government has decided and to obtain the people's understanding.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the relocation of Futenma Air Station of the United States (U.S.) Marine Corps to Henoko and about the argument that the acceptance of the base and economic promotion and development are connected. Yesterday, Minister of Defense Morimoto stated in his press conference that he would like Futenma's relocation to be realized by promoting comprehensive measures encompassing political, economic, and economic stimulus dimensions. He clearly acknowledged the connection between the base issue and economic promotion and development. Can you please confirm the Government's position, that is, what is the Government's view on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe you are incorrect to understand that the statement is somehow linked to the "connection argument." It is to be expected that the policy on Okinawa is examined comprehensively, is it not? I believe now, particularly now, Minister Morimoto is most concerned about the issue of the return of lands south of Kadena. This is another major issue which will be examined comprehensively. I believe Minister Morimoto stated that the topic of economic promotion and development will naturally come up in the considerations. In this sense, I believe Minister Morimoto was expressing the view that rather than viewing the issues of Okinawa through an extremely small lens, the issues of Okinawa will be examined as a whole.


REPORTER: Regarding the Senkaku Islands, I believe Chinese fishing patrol vessels and other vessels are once again making appearances after the typhoon has past. What is the current status, and what are the Government's opinions on the fact that it is becoming normal for these fishing patrol vessels to appear in the surrounding waters?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Regarding the movements of Chinese official vessels and other vessels, the Response Office at the Prime Minister's Office, which became the Information Liaison Office from September 26, is continuing to collect information. As of 10 am today, October 2, there were six Chinese official vessels navigating the waters near the Senkaku Islands. Four maritime surveillance vessels and two fishery surveillance vessels were navigating within Japanese contiguous waters. I suggest that you ask the Japan Coast Guard for further details. Whether this is "becoming normal" or not has not been determined as of yet. In any case, with regard to the patrolling of the areas around the Senkaku Islands, the Japanese Government will continue to work with the relevant ministries and agencies to collect information and take all possible warning and surveillance measures with a sense of vigilance.

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