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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Restarting operations at nuclear power stations and the role of the Nuclear Regulation Authority
  • The Senkaku Islands

REPORTER: This morning, the Nuclear Regulation Authority held a meeting and concluded that the final decision on the restarting of nuclear power stations will not be made by the Authority but rather they implied that it will be left to the Government. Does that mean that the Government will be making decisions on the restarting of nuclear power stations while also being responsible for communicating with and assuring local residents?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Let me give you a brief explanation, referring to the current framework of the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment. During today's meeting, the Authority's chairperson, Shunichi Tanaka, stated that power providers and the ministries and agencies concerned with energy policy will be responsible for assessing whether power stations should be returned to operation, which will include analysis of power supply and economic impact. They will also be responsible for communicating with and assuring local residents, and safety will be the first priority when completing all of these tasks. I believe that his understanding is correct. I would also like to add that, as you know, our basic policy is that we will mobilize all policy measures to achieve our target of zero nuclear power stations in the 2030s. During that process, the nuclear power stations deemed safe will be utilized as important power sources. This is our basic policy. Therefore with this strategy, nuclear power stations deemed to be safe by the independent Nuclear Regulation Authority will be utilized as important sources of energy. What Mr. Shunichi Tanaka meant in this context is that we must gain the understanding of local residents, although it is not a legal requirement. In doing so, the first party to be responsible for this task will be the power providers. However, this policy is a Government policy, so the Government will provide explanations as necessary to the relevant parties of local municipalities that have nuclear power stations.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in relation to energy. You just mentioned that power providers will be responsible for providing explanations, but up until now the Government has been involved in the process by, for example, establishing the four ministers' meeting due to public mistrust of the power providers. Does this mean that power providers have now regained sufficient public trust?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe that the accident following March 11 caused damage to the trustworthiness of not only power providers but also the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and Nuclear Safety Commission. In response to this low public confidence, as you know, the Government took on the responsibility itself and held special meetings with relevant ministers to address the situation and add new safety requirements, such as stress testing, until the Nuclear Regulation Authority was established. Now that the Nuclear Regulation Authority has been established, I believe that working under the aforementioned policy is the objective of the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment.


REPORTER: I understand the Government's policy but I would like to once again ask who will be making the final decision on the restarting of nuclear power stations based on that policy.


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: (Abridged) With regard to the restarting of nuclear power stations, it will be referred to as "approval", and the Nuclear Regulation Authority will be granting approval. The Authority's chairperson, Shunichi Tanaka today commented that the Authority will be responsible for approving safety.


REPORTER: It has been announced that sometime this afternoon, a number of Chinese vessels crossed into the territorial waters of the Senkaku Islands. Would you be able to provide us with an update?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First let me establish the development of events. Today between 12:35 pm and 12:53 pm, three Chinese patrol vessels known as "Kaikan" crossed into Japanese territorial waters around Kuba Island. In response, the Government has made firm protests against the intrusion of the Chinese vessels via diplomatic routes from high level officials, requesting that the vessels leave Japanese territorial waters immediately. As a result, all three vessels left the territorial waters by 3:19 pm. As of 3:30 pm on October 3, four Kaikan vessels and three Yuzheng vessels, a total of seven Chinese vessels, are sailing within waters around the Senkaku Islands. As of now I have been informed that of the seven vessels, four Kaikan vessels are sailing within Japanese contiguous waters, while the remaining three are outside of Japanese contiguous waters.

REPORTER: My question is relation to the same topic. You just mentioned that high level officials have protested via diplomatic routes. What kind of level are you talking about?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Protests were made from a number of levels, approximately three levels.


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