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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:The Government's Government Revitalization Unit will be conducting another review. The review to be conducted by the Diet, on the other hand, is based on legal grounds. Separate from the individual results of the current review, overall how will the Government be viewing the Diet's review, which is based on legal grounds?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:I believe I discussed this a bit yesterday. First, I would like to highly commend the Diet for embarking on this unprecedented new initiative and for establishing a subcommittee of the Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration for the review. I understand that through our initiatives after the change in government, the term "shiwake (review)" itself became widely recognized and that this method was adopted by many local public organizations and other entities. I believe the fact that the Diet is embarking on this initiative demonstrates that the Government's review is worthy of acclaim. I understand a decision has not yet been made as to how the results will be compiled and so on. At any event, when the Diet does come up with some sort of assessment or result, I believe the Government must fully accept it.

REPORTER:Related to the question just now, I believe the Committee is considering making specific recommendations, etc. Does the Government believe that the Committee's judgment will have any binding power?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:The Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration's recommendations to the plenary session regarding the financial statements from the previous fiscal year and the fiscal year before that need to be taken seriously. Similarly, if the Committee makes recommendations in this sense, I believe they will be dealt with in the same manner.

REPORTER:I have a question regarding the difference in the briefings on the Japan-U.S. summit meeting. At today's Budget Committee meeting of the House of Councillors, Prime Minister Noda said that he had said that it was better to correct it. How was the Prime Minister's wish conveyed to the U.S. side? The readout in the end has still not been corrected. Can you explain the background behind why it has not been corrected?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:This is as was explained numerous times at the Committee meeting. Let me go through it in an organized manner once again. The Prime Minister said to President Obama that Japan will enter into consultations toward participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations with the countries concerned and that Japan will advance high-level economic partnerships in accordance with the Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships that was approved in November of last year. The Prime Minister noted that the (U.S.) readout, which states that he said he "would put all goods, as well as services, on the negotiating table," is contrary to facts and sought an explanation and correction from the U.S. official in charge, through a Japanese official in charge. The U.S. response was that the readout was based on U.S. interpretation in accordance with the Basic Policy Japan has unveiled so far and the U.S. will not revise it. However, it was confirmed that the said statement in the readout had not been made. On this basis, the series of exchanges with the U.S. side were reported to the press who were covering APEC in Honolulu, and this was reported in Japan and overseas. In any case, it was confirmed that the said statement in the U.S. readout is not a quote of the Prime Minister's statement at the summit meeting. Therefore, we believe it is not necessary to once again seek a correction.

REPORTER:Is my understanding correct that based on the Prime Minister's wish, the Japanese official in charge did ask the U.S. side at one point to make a correction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:An explanation and correction were requested at the working level.


REPORTER:My question concerns the nuclear accident. Separate from the investigation committees of the Government and the Diet, there are moves to conduct an independent investigation and verification of the accident led by scientists from the private sector, such as Mr. Kitazawa, former President of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). I understand that this initiative is being launched based on the belief that the world will not easily be convinced with only the information from the Government. What are the Government's thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:As you know, as for the Government's third-party investigation and verification of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Investigation Committee on the Accident is now carrying out an investigation under the leadership of Dr. Hatamura, Chairperson of the Committee. Also, it is the Government's stance to provide maximum cooperation also for the Investigation Committee on the Accident, which was recently established at the Diet. I am not very familiar with what was just established by the private sector. However, in any case, I believe generally speaking the Government must properly fulfill its variety of responsibilities to offer the necessary explanations to people in the private sector.


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