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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Prime Minister Noda will be visiting Bali, Indonesia from Thursday, November 17 to Saturday, November 19, in order to attend the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings. This visit is of great significance. It will provide Prime Minister Noda, who will be attending the Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting, the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting, the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting and the East Asia Summit, with a good opportunity to advance measures in response to common regional challenges and express his views directly to leaders of other East Asian countries. In addition, during his visit the Prime Minister is scheduled to hold bilateral summit talks with leaders of various countries.


REPORTER:I have a question concerning the difference in the briefings provided by the Japanese and U.S. Governments concerning the Japan-U.S. summit talks held in Hawaii. The Principal Deputy Press Secretary of the White House has stated that the U.S. side does not intend to revise its statement, pointing out that it was based on the private consultations between President Obama and Prime Minister Noda and was based also on the public declarations from Prime Minister Noda, and thus stressing the accuracy of their statement. What is the response of the Japanese Government to this stance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Rather than stressing the accuracy of the statement, it is a fact that the U.S. side has acknowledged that there was no specific comment to this effect. When the Government requested an explanation from the U.S. side, it was explained that the announcement was based on the U.S. interpretation of the basic policies and explanations Japan has made so far and does not purport to be a direct quotation. Based on this explanation the Government believes that the sections concerned of the announcement made by the United States do not represent a direct quote and therefore sees no need to request a correction. This point has been confirmed by both sides.


REPORTER:What is the Government's view on the announcements by Canada and Mexico that they will also be participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe that if we view the TPP as one step towards the future realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), then the fact that the number of countries participating in the framework represents progress. I have heard that the announcements made by the two countries have been to express a specific interest in the TPP negotiations.


REPORTER:Relating to the Japan-U.S. summit talks concerning goods and services under the TPP, you have just clarified for us whether or not the Prime Minister mentioned these in the summit meeting. However, whether or not mention was made of such items, is there no change to the Japanese Government's policy concerning the TPP dating back to the administration of Prime Minister Kan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:What policy are you referring to?

REPORTER:I believe that a policy relating to sensitive goods under the TPP was decided last year. Has this policy been taken on and perpetuated by the administration of Prime Minister Noda?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:In the course of negotiations for economic partnership agreements (EPA) and free trade agreements (FTA) there are always goods that are designated as sensitive items and there is no change to this policy.

REPORTER:What I meant was, rather than giving consideration to sensitive goods, is there no change to the basic policy of continuing to extend such consideration while at the same time making all goods and services subject to liberalization negotiations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:Within the current framework of TPP consultations I do not believe there would be any change to such a policy. Naturally, in the course of time, it may turn out that from among all the items subject to negotiation some may be established as exceptions.


REPORTER:Today the World Cup football match between Japan and North Korea is scheduled to be held. I believe that the supporters participating in the tour are being escorted. Do you have any information about the status of their safety at the current time? Also, at the current point it appears that the supports have left the hotel for a tour of Pyongyang. Should such a tour not be considered to be part of the Government's request to refrain from travel and other activities? What is your view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:At the current point we have no new information, but it is a fact that the Government has requested the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Japan Football Association (JFA) to refrain from all activities except for those relating to the football match. I have received information that approximately 150 people are participating in the tour. With regard to their safety, in case that there is a problem during their visit, a total of 13 public servants have been dispatched, who have established a temporary liaison office to deal with any matters that may arise.


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