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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I have one item to report. I would like to state the Government's policy concerning travel to North Korea for the purpose of participating in, reporting on and watching the third round qualification football match between Japan and North Korea that is part of the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup and is scheduled to be held in Pyongyang, North Korea, on November 15.

The Government of Japan has a long-standing policy as part of measures relating to North Korea of requesting Japanese citizens to refrain from travel to North Korea and this policy remains unchanged. However, the Japan-North Korea match is a qualifying match for the World Cup that is held under the regulations of the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA), and the football associations of Japan and North Korea are engaged in coordination for the match in accordance with the customary procedures for a World Cup qualifier. In view of this fact, the Government has decided to make a special exception to the policy of requesting Japanese citizens to refrain from travel to North Korea, for the sole purpose of attending or taking part in this football match. The lifting of the request to refrain from travel will apply to the following: (1) members of the Japan National Football Team, comprising players, coaches, directors and staff related to the Japan Football Association (JFA); (2) members of the press accompanying the Japan National Football Team who are approved by the JFA and for whom selection and arrangements to travel to North Korea will be made by the JFA for the purpose of reporting on the match; and (3) supporters who will participate in an official tour arranged by the JFA and will travel as a group for the purpose of watching the match and supporting the team. For all other persons not covered in the above three categories, the request to refrain from travel to North Korea remains in place. In addition, other than the special exception for travel to North Korea there will be no special exceptions to the other measures that are in place concerning North Korea, including the ban on the exports and imports of goods and restrictions on the remittance of cash and other financial matters to North Korea. The Government therefore requests all Japanese who will travel to North Korea, including the team members, press corps, and participants on the JFA official tour, to comply with and abide by the various restrictions and special immigration procedures relating to the sanctions that are in place. Japan does not recognize North Korea as a State. Given the fact that there are no diplomatic relations with North Korea and no consular representation in the country, all persons traveling to the country are requested to be fully aware of the various restrictions that are in place. For details, please direct your questions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is dealing with this matter.



REPORTER:Concerning the issue of the football match in North Korea, does the Government intend to send its own representatives to accompany the supporters, players and press members to ensure their safety in North Korea? What consideration has the Government given to specific safety measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe your question relates to crisis management by the Government and efforts to protect Japanese citizens. One of the measures we have devised, from the perspective of minimizing the potential for an unforeseen incident is to only permit the lifting of the restrictions on travel for persons participating in the JFA official tour. As Japan does not recognize North Korea as a state, and there is no diplomatic or consular representation in the country, we are asking the people who will travel to North Korea to be duly aware of the multiple restrictions that are in place. In addition, the Government will be publicizing and providing information concerning matters of caution when traveling to North Korea. In the event that an unforeseen situation does occur in North Korea, the Government will seek to make an appropriate response on a case-by-case basis. The details of such responses are currently being considered and I cannot divulge the details at this point.


REPORTER:With regard to the dispatch of personnel to South Sudan to take part in peacekeeping operations (PKO), about which you noted that preparations are being made today, at the current point is it anticipated that the PKO personnel will operate out of the capital of Juba, or is consideration being given to operate out of a different location, such as Malakal, for example?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:No such consideration is being given. It is expected that personnel will operate in the capital of Juba and its vicinity.


REPORTER:As for the restarting of operations at the Unit 4 reactor of Genkai Nuclear Power Station, it has been determined that the situation for this reactor is different from restarting of operations at power stations that are currently suspended for regular inspections. I am unclear about the distinctions between these two, so could you provide an explanation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I am not clear about what particular points you are unclear about, however, there is a clear distinction in the response to be made to reactors where operations have been suspended for regular inspections, and to reactors that have been automatically suspended due to some kind of trouble that has arisen during operations. If you look at examples to date of power stations that have automatically been suspended due to some kind of trouble and not due to regular inspections, they are at a stage prior to the stress tests being implemented at power stations that are suspended for regular inspections, and therefore the decision made with regard to Genkai Nuclear Power Station is in accordance with past examples.

REPORTER:On a related note, I think it is difficult for the public to understand why the hurdles for restarting power stations where trouble has occurred are seemingly set so low, in that they do not require the implementation of stress tests. This is in contrast to power stations where there has been no particular trouble but must implement a stress test at the time of regularly scheduled inspections. What are your views on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:In cases where the impact of the trouble has been significant and large-scale inspections similar to regularly scheduled inspections are deemed to be necessary, then there is a possibility that a primary assessment will be required. The case at Genkai Nuclear Power Station involved a mistake in procedures and a response has been made to prevent recurrence. This is the same response that has been made to similar cases of trouble during operation. Naturally the decision is made based on the nature of the trouble that has occurred.


REPORTER:On a different subject, at lunchtime today Governor Nakaima of Okinawa Prefecture and representatives of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA) indicated their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, from the perspective of protecting outlying islands in Okinawa Prefecture. What are your views on this request and what did you say in response to this request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I heard the opening statements from the representatives and took receipt of the written requests, responding that the Government has made a number of responses to date, including for sweet products from the islands and that such measures would continue to be implemented thoroughly. We subsequently discussed how the TPP would directly affect such islands. For example, in the case of relations with the United States and Australia, such products are exempt from economic agreements and the representatives from Okinawa and the JA indicated their awareness of this fact. This was the kind of information that was exchanged.

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