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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved nine general and other measures and the promulgation of a treaty, a cabinet order, and personnel decisions. In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, Minister Kenji Yamaoka made a statement concerning the holding of events during the North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week, and I made a statement concerning the bills which are expected to be submitted to the next ordinary session of the Diet, among other matters.

Also, I have another announcement. The second meeting of the Ministerial Meeting on Decontamination and Special Waste Treatment was held prior to today's Cabinet meeting. At the meeting, a report was made on matters such as the progress of the model test programs for decontamination that are being carried out for the implementation of full-fledged decontamination activities from next year and beyond. In order to move forward with full-fledged decontamination, it is essential that progress is made quickly to restore the functions of municipal offices, which will be playing a central role in the decontamination activities. To this end, the cooperation of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), which have organizational strength and are able to carry out emergency responses, was being considered. The Minister of Defense reported on the overview of the decontamination activities that are expected to be implemented by the municipal offices of Namie Town, Tomioka Town, Naraha Town, and Iitate Village. Starting tomorrow, December 7, approximately 900 SDF members, consisting primarily of the members of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) 44th Infantry Regiment in Fukushima City and the GSDF 6th Artillery Regiment in Koriyama City, are scheduled to carry out decontamination activities for around two weeks in the four locations I mentioned a moment ago. The meeting reaffirmed that with regard to these ongoing initiatives, information will be shared with relevant ministers and the Government will make concerted efforts.



REPORTER: At today's Cabinet meeting, I believe His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince was relieved from his duties to temporarily carry out state affairs on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor. What are the Government's thoughts on this? Also, it is often stated that His Majesty the Emperor has a busy schedule of official duties. What is the Government's view on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe this has already been announced. Last month, His Majesty the Emperor suffered from ongoing fever and other symptoms, so in order to ensure the best care he was admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital. As such, beginning on November 7 and for the time being, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince took over the Emperor's state responsibility as a temporary replacement. Since then, His Majesty the Emperor was discharged from the hospital on November 24 and was recuperating at the Imperial Residence. While monitoring the status of the recovery of his health, His Majesty the Emperor began to gradually resume his activities. Based on the recovery from his illness, it was decided that today, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince will be relieved from the delegation of carrying out the Emperor's state responsibility. So with regard to your first question, my response is that we are very relieved. With regard to your second question, I would like to say that it is indeed the wish of all people of Japan that His Majesty the Emperor remains healthy. Therefore, I believe it is important to think about reducing the burden of His Majesty the Emperor, while fully bearing in mind the thoughts and stance that His Majesty the Emperor has toward his official duties - His Majesty the Emperor has always tirelessly engaged in his official duties which he considers as very important.


REPORTER: I believe at the end of October, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda relayed his wish to former Prime Minister Naoto Kan about his dispatch to the inauguration ceremony of the Argentinean President as a special envoy. Can you once again explain the aim of this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Generally speaking, if Japan is invited to an inauguration ceremony of a President and so on, it is usually the case that someone with experience is dispatched to the respective ceremonies. For example, I, myself, was dispatched to the inauguration ceremony of the President of the Philippines last year as a special envoy of the Government. To date, based on a variety of factors, such as the relationship between the counterpart country and Japan, such persons as former Prime Ministers and former Foreign Ministers have been dispatched in a variety of formats on a case-by-case basis. This time, the counterpart is a major country, Argentina, and based on an overall consideration, including its relations with Japan, it was decided that former Prime Minister Kan, someone with Prime Minister experience, will attend the ceremony.


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