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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:This morning a plenary session of the House of Councillors was convened. Relating to a question that was asked in this morning's press conference to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito, I would like to provide a report on the current status of the Unit 2 reactor of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). With regard to the possibility that xenon has been detected at the Unit 2 reactor, this morning shortly after 7:00am, a first report was made by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) to the Prime Minister's Office. NISA was contacted by TEPCO late at night yesterday and it was reported that provisional readings for quantities of xenon detected were very close to the detection threshold, and given the fact that the quantities involved were extremely small and did not present an immediate threat according to plant data, including temperature and pressure, etc., it was decided that TEPCO would engage in further detailed surveys of the reactor and report back to the Prime Minister's Office and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry this morning. However, given that the highest priority is to engage in efforts to bring the accident to a conclusion, and in light of information suggesting a possibility that a nuclear fission reaction may be occurring, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Edano warned the Director General of NISA that information should be provided expeditiously. With regard to what is happening on site, according to current surveys there is no new information to report to you since this morning, when Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saito responded to your questions.



REPORTER:With regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, in a meeting of a "group to seriously consider the TPP" the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated its recognition that prior consultations will be required before the 90-day procedure for the House of Congress in the United States to approve Japan's participation in the the TPP negotiations. In view of the upcoming 90 deliberation process in the U.S. Congress, how many days does the Government consider will be required to participate in the rule making, in other words, in the actual negotiations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:As you are aware 90 days are required in the U.S. Congress before approval is given. The Government was aware in advance that consultations prior to the approval of the U.S. Congress would be required, but the length of deliberations is not a set period of so many months as reported in the press, but varies on a case-by-case basis. Therefore it may take more than 90 days, but how many days more than 90 days will be required is as yet unknown. In terms of bilateral relations, the situation will vary depending on how procedures and deliberations proceed in the U.S. Congress. That is the observation that has been made.

REPORTER:On a related note, Minister Edano and others have said that it would be preferable to engage in the negotiations at an early stage as this would enable participation in the rule making process. Is it your recognition that the Government will be able to participate in the creation of such rules?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:A few days ago prior negotiations on the TPP were held and it is anticipated that it may take another year or so. In the prior negotiations it was anticipated that meetings of nations seeking to participate in the TPP would take place on approximately five occasions next year. At this point it is unclear when the rules and procedures relating to the TPP will be fleshed out, but I do not think that Japan will engage in participation at a stage when all negotiations are over.


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