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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, November 7, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:This question is in regards to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The [Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)] decided that it would reach - or, aim to reach - a consensus opinion by November 9. What consensus does the Government anticipate from the party?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The party is in the middle of forming a consensus, so any requests that the Government could make now would influence their outcome. As such, we will leave it up to the party to reach their own consensus. (With regards to the consensus making process,) We have left everything up to party discussions, as they have decided to push the deadline forward.


REPORTER:On a related note, Prime Minister Noda has expressed that, once consensus is reached by the Government and the DPJ and a political decision is made, he would like to personally present his thoughts to the people. Does this mean that Prime Minister Noda will express his own opinions in some way at such a time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The Cabinet's stance is that once the opinion of the Government and the DPJ - the Government and the ruling parties - reaches a consensus, the Ministerial Committee on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships, a meeting concerning the Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and economic partnership agreements (EPA), will announce a conclusion in light of the opinion of the Government and ruling parties. The Prime Minister is a member of this Committee. The issue at hand is whether to participate in negotiations, and nothing is set in stone in terms of joining the TPP, but I believe that one of the Committee's jobs will be to authorize the Government's policy. Then, I believe that Prime Minister Noda will make an appropriate announcement based on that policy.


REPORTER:I would like to confirm the process that you just mentioned. According to your explanation, first the Government and three DPJ senior members will reach a conclusion, and then a decision will be made by the Ministerial Committee. Is that correct?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Yes, I believe that will be the order of things.


REPORTER:The captain of a Chinese fishing boat that had intruded into Japanese territorial waters off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture has been arrested. What does the Government currently know about this situation and how do you intend to respond moving forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:This has already been reported by certain news outlets, but just before 3:00pm yesterday, after the fishing boat in question was stopped at sea approximately 90 kilometers northwest of the - I believe it was the Danjo Islands of Nagasaki Prefecture - just after 4:00pm it appears that the captain was arrested on the spot as he was suspected to be in violation of the Fisheries Act and he refused an on-spot inspection. The necessary investigation is currently underway. This means that investigating officials are properly addressing the issue in an appropriate fashion based on the laws and regulations of Japan. For more details, please forward your questions to the Japan Coast Guard.


REPORTER:The Republic of Korea (ROK) media has reported that a name of woman thought to be Ms. Megumi Yokota was found on a 2005 list of Pyongyang residents. What does the Government know about this? Also, the Yokota family has said that they want the Government to launch a vigorous investigation into the issue. How does the Government intend to respond to this request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The November 7th issue of ROK weekly magazine "Weekly Chosun" ran an article that stated that a person who matches Ms. Megumi Yokota's profile was included on a list of Pyongyang City residents. I am aware of this article. The Government is collecting and analyzing information, and carrying out other efforts, under the premise that all abduction victims, including Ms. Megumi Yokota, are in fact alive. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on the specific details of our information gathering activities in order to avoid potential interference with future activities.


REPORTER:Yesterday, it was announced that His Majesty the Emperor was hospitalized. Please share any confirmed information that the Government has.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:To provide a proper report, His Majesty the Emperor has an ongoing fever, so in order to ensure the best care he was admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital, where he is currently undergoing treatment. As such, the Cabinet has decided that from today, November 7, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince will take over the Emperor's state responsibility as a temporary replacement for the time being. The Crown Prince officially started his role as a temporary replacement as of 10:00am today. This marks the second occasion that illness by His Majesty the Emperor has resulted in his temporary replacement.


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