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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, November 18, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As this press conference directly follows the Cabinet meeting, I will provide an overview of what happened at the meeting. Approval was made on 16 matters submitted to the Diet, draft bills, Cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. Concerning comments by ministers, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Masaharu Nakagawa commented on a report, along with his views of said report, released by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) concerning the fiscal 2010 Funding Program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers (NEXT Program) and Postdoctoral Fellowships for Research Abroad. He also commented with his views about the report of the National Agency for the Advancement of Sports and Health (NAASH) concerning usage of profits related to the fiscal 2010 Sports Promotion Lottery. Minister Renho discussed the national week to remember victims of crime, and the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Tourism Takeshi Maeda spoke about the appointment of heads of special companies. Finally, I made comments with regard to the appointment of an acting Prime Minister during his overseas trips.

In ministerial discussions, Minister Tatsuo Hirano requested cooperation in working toward the establishment of the Special Act on the Revival of Fukushima.

Next, I would like to report on the Ministerial Meeting on Decontamination and Special Waste Treatment, which convened following the Cabinet meeting. This meeting was held in accordance with orders delivered by the Prime Minister last week, when he requested that a meeting between related ministers with the Chief Cabinet Secretary as the head be held in order to strengthen the structure for decontamination and treatment of contaminated waste. At the beginning of the meeting, I reported that as of today, staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Tourism (MLIT), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) would commence dual appointments at the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), and, furthermore, that many of those staff will be dispatched to onsite locations. Moreover, I called for the government's complete support in advancing this program, including further cooperation in the provision of human resources in efforts to continue strengthening this structure. Minister of the Environment Goshi Hosono then provided an explanation about future decontamination undertakings and efforts to strengthen the structure, calling on the cooperation of the ministries. In response, each minister expressed his and her resolve to provide active cooperation, including human resources. The Government will continue concerted efforts to develop a structure based around the MOE.


REPORTER: With regard to the ministerial meeting on decontamination, you mentioned that each ministry expressed their will to provide cooperation. Did Ministry of Defense Yasuo Ichikawa make any remarks concerning the participation of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in decontamination activities?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Some media sources are reporting this as if some decision had already been made, but the current situation is that we are still considering it. Of course, in terms of direction, we are working so that the SDF can cooperate in these activities.

REPORTER: Did Minister Ichikawa say that?



REPORTER: If staff from ministries other than the Ministry of Defense (MOD) were to be dispatched, such as the MAFF and METI, for example, specifically what kind of work would they engage in?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: More so than physical labor, they would fulfill the role of a command tower, formulating decontamination plans for contaminated areas and ordering various materials and services needed for the actual work.


REPORTER: I understand that a group comprising related ministries led by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Makoto Taketoshi will be going to Okinawa either today or tomorrow. Please inform us of the aim for this visit, as it will be at an administrative level.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe that there was a press release concerning Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Taketoshi's visit to Okinawa. The aim of this trip is to hold a working-level opinion exchange between Okinawa Prefecture and the national government with regard to the economic development of the prefecture and reducing the burden of United States military bases. This meeting is a sort of working-level version of the Okinawa Policy Council, and is being held for the purpose of facilitating frank opinion exchanges in Okinawa on the various issues surrounding economic development for the prefecture and reducing the burden concerning United States military bases. The Government will report on considerations paid to the individual requests made by the prefecture with regard to economic promotion, in addition to a report on the current status of consideration for requests received from the Council for Promotion of Dezoning and Reutilization of Military Land in Okinawa relating to the reduction of the burden of United States military bases. The national government and prefectural government of Okinawa will exchange opinions on these topics. Furthermore, I have been told that Okinawa Prefecture Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has relayed various requests of the prefecture pertaining to the two laws that are to expire at the end of this fiscal year, and that we will be providing a report on the status of considerations for those requests. It also appears that there is to be a ceremony at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University tomorrow, and I hear that they will attend this ceremony as well.


REPORTER: At yesterday's ASEAN Summit, agreement was made on the creation of a regional free trade area among ASEAN and six countries, including Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK). What is your response to this development and how does the Government intend on responding to this moving forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Amidst efforts being carried out by ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6, Japan must carry out a leading role in working towards forming 21st century trade and investment rules, and that is what this framework is about. In that sense, Japan welcomes the fact that discussion is being carried out among ASEAN member states on developing a region-wide free trade area, as this agrees with our basic direction and future paths.

REPORTER: Some people feel that there was a sense of rivalry in the creation of this framework since Japan has decided to enter into consultations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and that other ASEAN member states purposely tried to integrate China into their regional framework in response. What is the Government's view on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I think that is one way to see things, but our intention is to move forward while keeping in view the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) - an overarching economic partnership with Southeast Asia, including ASEAN. So we are basically looking toward a common direction.


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