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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Senkaku Islands (Chinese navy vessels' movements)
  • The review of the reconstruction budget

REPORTER: There are news reports that Chinese navy vessels navigated the contiguous zone off the coast of the Sakishima Islands. Can you verify the facts and tell us the status of the Government's response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes, these are the facts. Today, around 7 am, a P-3C patrol aircraft from the monitoring radar site confirmed a total of seven Chinese navy vessels travelling northward, from the Pacific Ocean toward the East China Sea, in the waters approximately 44km southwest of Nakanokami Island and approximately 49km south-southeast of Yonaguni Island. The group of vessels as of 3:30 pm has already crossed the Japan-China median line westward. The vessels are navigating the waters to the west of the Senkaku Islands and are not headed toward the Senkaku Islands. That was the report. Regarding the Government's response, I would like to refrain from giving out the details. However, I will state that the Japanese Government is lodging a protest to China, urging China to take appropriate responses in view of and refrain from actions that go against the bigger picture of the bilateral relations.

REPORTER: According to some information, while the vessels at one time were headed toward the Senkaku Islands, this is no longer the case. What do you think are China's intentions, including of the relevance to Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The fact of the matter is that we do not know about the intentions of China. There were no reports about any confirmation of vessels entering the contiguous zone or the territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands.

REPORTER: Will the expansion of the region of the Chinese navy's activities have any impact on the patrolling arrangements of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Self-Defense Forces (SDF) flexibly operate P-3C patrol aircrafts and escort vessels, among other equipment, as necessary in Japan's surrounding waters, including the East China Sea. The SDF have properly conducted warning and surveillance activities to date, and this remains unchanged.

REPORTER: If I may confirm with you, you said earlier that the Government is lodging a protest to China. Were you referring to a protest being lodged in response to the latest incident or to protests that the Government has lodged in the past?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I was speaking about the response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the latest moves of the Chinese navy.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the review of the reconstruction budget. As was confirmed also at this morning's press conference, I believe that in principle the Government will review the budget through the Reconstruction Agency and the Ministry of Finance (MOF). Is my understanding correct that it is also the Reconstruction Agency and MOF that have the right to make the final decision regarding the review?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: "Review" is review. The Reconstruction Agency will ultimately verify with the respective government offices on whether there were any completely unrelated budgets and so on. In some cases, a warning may be sent out. I believe a more rigorous check will be conducted for next fiscal year's budget.

REPORTER: What do you have in mind as the timing for the final compilation? You said that, for example, the review conducted by Deputy Prime Minister Okada at the Government Revitalization Unit will be carried out around mid-November. What is the end period you have in mind for the review by the Government as a whole to determine whether the allocations were or were not appropriate and whether they will or will not be reviewed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe a majority of the results of the review will be reflected in next fiscal year's budget. The Government Revitalization Unit, including experts, will conduct a review, if there are problems, in mid-November. I believe a variety of facts will come to light thereafter.

REPORTER: If I may confirm, you said that in principle a majority of the results will be reflected in next fiscal year's budget. Then is it correct to understand that at this present stage you do not envision freezing the execution of any allocations included in this fiscal year's budget?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: If there are allocations which have not been executed, then I believe naturally the results of the review will be reflected.

REPORTER: Concerning the latest incident involving the Chinese navy, did any helicopters fly from the Chinese vessels? Are there any facts as such?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have not been informed of any such facts.

REPORTER: Regarding a related matter, I have heard that the route taken by the Chinese navy this time was a route it had never taken before. Some see this as China's military making preemptive moves, while the Japanese SDF maintain their usual arrangements. What are the Government's views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It does no good for people to interpret this in any way that they wish to. We do not know about the intentions of China. We can speculate a number of possibilities. For example, the typhoon may have played a part. I will refrain from making any formal comments here and now on the intentions of China.

REPORTER: I believe it is becoming common for Chinese "Haijian" and "Yuzheng" vessels to navigate near  the Senkaku Islands. And now, Chinese navy vessels have entered the waters for the first time. What is your view as Chief Cabinet Secretary on the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I said, we cannot simply speculate about the intentions of China. The facts are as I mentioned a moment ago, which is that Japan lodged a protest through diplomatic channels regarding the moves of the vessels of the Chinese navy.


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