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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, October 26, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The West Japan Economic Federation members' call on the Chief Cabinet Secretary to submit a set of recommendations
  • The senior vice minister-level executive council on matters concerning Okinawa
  • The resumption of construction of Oma Nuclear Power Station

REPORTER: I believe members of the West Japan Economic Federation made a request to you this afternoon. Can you please brief us on the exchanges which took place between you and the Federation? Also, one of the Federation's wishes was for the Government to review the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment. What was your response to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Let me summarize. From 1:15 pm, I met with and received a set of recommendations from the West Japan Economic Federation. It was I who received their recommendations last year as well. The recommendations had three pillars. The first one was promoting environmental improvements to overcome global competition. The next one was promoting institutional reform to achieve sustainable growth. And the third pillar was promoting efforts to build a nation that is resilient against disasters. Based on these pillars, for 15 minutes - so indeed very briefly - we held exchanges. I explained to them, among other matters, that today, the Cabinet decided on the uses of the Government reserve for economic crisis response and regional revitalization and other funds. Taking into account that one of Prime Minister Noda's instructions on October 17 was to decide on economic measures by the end of November or next month and to implement them swiftly, the advance portion of the economic measures - which total around more than 400 billion yen for now - were decided. With regard to your question, under the heading, "promoting environmental improvements to overcome global competition," the promotion of a long-term and comprehensive energy policy was included in the Federation's recommendations. All members of the Federation, that is, the heads of the respective economic federations (of Chubu, Hokuriku, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu), are chairmen of electric power companies. However, we did not discuss this topic at great length. We also had some exchanges on other detailed or specific topics, including the fact that there were a couple of so-called missing links in regard to road development in the Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu regions.

REPORTER: I believe this morning, the Senior Vice Minister of Finance, the Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Senior Vice Minister of Defense, respectively, visited Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito and held talks amongst each other. I believe the talks concerned the promotion and development of Okinawa. Can you explain about the content?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This framework has existed from before. It is called the Executive Council on Matters Concerning Okinawa. This senior vice minister-level executive council is established under the Ministerial Meeting on Okinawa, which is set up to hold more wide-ranging discussions within the Government on the issues concerning Okinawa, including the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan. Taking into consideration, for example, that changes were made to the parliamentary-level personnel of the relevant ministries and agencies due to the recent Cabinet reshuffle, today's meeting was also held for the Executive Council to have their first face-to-face meeting with each other. The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito, who I believe is the Chair, as well as Senior Vice Minister of Cabinet Office Fujimoto - he is the Senior Vice Minister for Okinawa Affairs under Minister Tarutoko, Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kira, Senior Vice Minister of Finance Takemasa, and Senior Vice Minister of Defense Nagashima. I would like to refrain from commenting on the contents of the specific exchanges that took place at today's meeting of the Executive Council. However, I will say that some exchanges of opinions took place on the issues concerning Okinawa, including the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan, bearing in mind the recent situation surrounding Okinawa.


REPORTER: Regarding Oma Nuclear Power Station, Mayor Kudo of Hakodate City [in Hokkaido] met with Ms. Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party, two days ago, and both sides agreed to seek the freezing of the construction of the nuclear power station and are stepping up their protests. Previously, when I asked, you said that the nuclear operator needs to provide careful explanations. However, it was the Government that approved the resumption of construction. Does the Government have any intention to proactively seek the understanding of Hakodate going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This is not a matter of whether the resumption of construction is approved or not approved. To begin with, the establishment of the nuclear reactor and the construction plan have already been approved, and I believe I have responded before that we would not be retracting these approvals. Naturally, the resumption of the construction of Oma Nuclear Power Station is up to the judgment of the nuclear operator, J-Power. Furthermore, the jurisdiction over safety regulations has been transferred to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). Therefore, moving forward, I believe NRA will be confirming the safety by conducting inspections prior to use and through other means based on their independent position. The process going forward will be determined by the nuclear operator and NRA. As I also stated the last time, which was quite a while ago, the Government has no intention of retracting the approvals already granted for the establishment and the construction plan. This is what the Government has always said.


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