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Reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake

October 31, 2013(AM)

[Provisional Translation]

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

Q&As

  • The issue related to contaminated water measures
  • The issue related to designation of sediment disaster prone areas
  • The creation of Japan-U.S. standards for evaluating the risks of nuclear power station accidents

(Abridged)

REPORTER: The Economy, Trade and Industry Division and other commissions of the Liberal Democratic Party have decided on a special measures bill, the key facets of which include the Government's direct control of the contaminated water measures related to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. What is your reaction to this decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As part of the Government's determination to play a proactive role in settling the contaminated water issue, we have stated that we will aim to fundamentally settle this issue, including through the injection of reserve funds. Following the latest decision of the party, we will promote these measures through thorough dialogue between the Government and ruling parties.

REPORTER: Recently the Government decided to allocate 47 billion yen to dealing with this issue. Is it possible that additional expenses will be allocated?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, what is currently decided is the allocation of 47 billion yen and plans to block off the ground water using frozen soil.

REPORTER: According to studies by municipalities, there are 49,000 places throughout Japan that have not been designated as sediment disaster prone areas, despite the fact that they have been determined to be at risk. I believe this is partly because there are people, including landowners, who are against making the designations. What do you think this matter should be addressed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you have noted, the designation of sediment disaster prone areas is made in accordance with the Act on Sediment Disaster Countermeasures for Sediment Disaster Prone Areas. The recent landslides have caused extensive damage. In light of this, we believe the designations are critically important in the context of improving the warning and evacuation system. On the other hand, it is true that there are residents who are opposed to the designations, and that time is being spent to address this matter during the briefing sessions. However, for example, while there were 69,000 such non-designated places last year, it is now down to 49,000. The designations cannot be made automatically. This matter involves a variety of difficult issues, including residents' concerns about the value of their land. In any case, it is important that residents in the areas at risk stay prepared on a daily basis. While such difficult issues do exist, we hope that they can be overcome and that we can turn the remaining 49,000 areas into designated areas as quickly as possible. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will be taking steps to this end.

REPORTER: According to some media reports, Japan intends to create standards that are consistent with those of the U.S. for evaluating the risks of nuclear power station accidents. Can you please inform us whether these reports are true or not?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At present, it has been agreed that a bilateral meeting will be held in the U.S. by the end of the year. The schedule and agenda are now being coordinated.

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