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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, November 17, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER:With regard to the issue of cesium being detected in rice from Fukushima Prefecture yesterday, please comment on the current status of the Government's response following the shipment of the rice.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:In light of yesterday's test results we are considering ordering that shipment restrictions be put on rice produced in Fukushima City's Onami District - the former Oguni Village, I believe - based on the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, and we will work to reach a swift conclusion on this matter. With regard to rice that exceeded the provisional limits, this was detected before the rice was shipped, so it is not being circulated in the market. I also hear that the Fukushima Prefectural Government has asked that producers in Onami district refrain from shipping rice for now.


REPORTER:On a related topic, last month Governor Yuhei Sato made a statement declaring the safety of rice produced in Fukushima Prefecture. In light of that statement and the current situation, how will the Government deal with the issue in terms of reputational damage? Also, on a somewhat related note, the Prime Minister previously mentioned that rice from Fukushima Prefecture would be used in meals prepared for the Prime Minister. Do you intend to change that policy in light of this case?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:We have to investigate further but I have been told that the impacts of this case will not spread so widely. It is a somewhat atypical case. As such, Fukushima Prefecture - and the national Government - will work to communicate that information so that this event does not spawn any reputational damage. Also, the rice used to prepare the Prime Minister's meals will not be changed.


REPORTER:Changing the subject, the United States and Australia have agreed to newly deploy United States Marine units to northern Australia. What is the Government's response to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:It was announced in a summit meeting between the United States and Australia that the United States military would be starting a new rotating deployment in Australia. Both the United States and Australian Governments provided prior explanations to us regarding this matter. I believe that this decision is a manifestation of the United States' policy to enhance its commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. Japan welcomes this decision as a development that will improve the capabilities of the Unites States military in the region and contribute to regional security. I believe that the Minister for Foreign Affairs has generally said the same thing.

REPORTER:On the same topic, how does the Government think that this decision will impact the current status of efforts to reduce the burden of United States bases in Okinawa?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:We have already received an explanation regarding this from the United States Government, and it has indicated that this move will not bear any effect on the realignment of United States troops in Japan.


REPORTER:I understand that the Government is considering having the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) participate in decontamination activities in response to the incident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Please tell us the current status of considerations and your future intentions.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:As has been reported by the media, no policy has been finalized for having the SDF participate in decontamination activities. However, at a recent gathering of ministers on November 11, the Prime Minister did make a request to related ministers that the ministries be as cooperative as possible. I hear that the SDF and Ministry of Defense (MOD) are also making considerations with regard to how they can cooperate in decontamination activities.


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