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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY EDANO:First, I have one item to report. It is about the intrusion of Chinese vessels into the Senkaku area.

Around 6:16am on August 24 (Wednesday), Chinese fishery patrol vessels 31001 and 201 navigating Japan's contiguous water area at approximately 16.3 nautical miles north-northeast of Kubajima and 17.6 nautical miles north-northeast of Kubajima, respectively, were seen and confirmed by the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel. Both vessels entered the territorial waters near Senkaku Islands after 6:30am, and after navigating the waters for around 30 minutes, left the area. Additionally, I have been told that patrol vessel 201 reentered the territorial waters after 7:40am. For these reasons, the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel and aircraft issued a warning by wireless, as well as exercised precautionary surveillance activities against the vessels. Since then, both vessels have been navigating Japan's contiguous water area about 14 nautical miles from Kubajima along the territorial waters line, almost, in a clockwise direction.

At the Prime Minister's Office, at 7:13am, immediately after receiving the report from the Japan Coast Guard, an information liaison office was established and we are now reinforcing our intelligence gathering.

In response to the Chinese side, a moment ago, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenichiro Sasae summoned the Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua and stated Japan's basic position that without question Senkaku Islands are Japan's inherent territory, both historically and by international law. He protested firmly and demanded they prevent a recurrence.

With the Prime Minister's Office serving as the locus, we will continue to carry out necessary response, including precautionary surveillance as necessary, based on close coordination and cooperation.
Bearing in mind the broader picture of Japan-China relations, Japan would like to demand an appropriate response from the Chinese side.



REPORTER:Today, Moody's Investors Service of the United States downgraded Japan's credit rating by one notch. What are your thoughts on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY EDANO:This is about a rating given by one private company, and I would like to refrain from commenting. That said, there is no question that Japan is in an extremely severe financial situation. I believe restoring fiscal health is a critical task in order to maintain market confidence.

REPORTER:Unrelated to the assessment made by this one private company, I would like to ask the following. As you said, Japan faces a severe financial situation. In this context, the Government was forced to back down on its proposals regarding fiscal discipline, namely both the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems in June and the Basic Policy on Reconstruction in July, due to strong opposition from the party. I believe this sort of stance inevitably leaves the impression that the Japanese Government as well as the ruling party are not serious about restoring Japan's fiscal health. Looking back, what are your thoughts on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY EDANO:My understanding of the facts is not that the Government has backed down because of strong opposition from the party. In either case, if we bear in mind Japan's mid- to long-term financial or social situation, whether it is Japan's financial forecast related to social security or ensuring financial resources for reconstruction, I would like to ask for the broad understanding of not only those involved in politics and government, but also the people of Japan, that we are in a situation which requires that firm measures be taken.
REPORTER:Related to the previous question, one of the reasons the ratings agency gave for the downgrade is that politics is becoming dysfunctional with the prime minister frequently changing in the past. What are your thoughts on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY EDANO:In either case, the Government will not comment on each comment made by a private company.


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