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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: This issue was raised this morning, but with regard to the detection of cesium in powdered milk produced by Meiji, this morning you told us that for more details we should forward our questions to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW). As it turns out, Meiji has independently enhanced its screenings and conducted a product recall, and retail shops have removed the product from shelves. Amidst a stampede of inquires from consumers, the detection of radioactive materials has caused tremendous worry and a heavily taxing situation for both the company and its customers. In that regard, I believe that the Government should present more aggressive countermeasures in order to thwart unnecessary confusion, such as, for example, further accelerating the revision of safety standards for baby food products, assisting corporations involved in food product screenings, and providing information. What is your take on this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: We are already doing this. To briefly discuss the flow of things, with regard to radioactive materials in food products, everyday local governments across the country actually conduct a massive amount of monitoring based on guidelines stipulated by the Government. This data is aggregated by the MHLW and publically released on a daily basis - it is released by the MHLW. Moreover, in order to ensure that food products that exceed the provisional regulation values are not distributed, we take measures to implement shipping restrictions based on the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, as frequently announced. In addition, substantial screenings are of course implemented by companies, but powdered milk is of particularly high interest to consumers because it is consumed by infants, so the Government has always demanded that related companies provide thorough explanations including public information disclosure. Recently, for instance - this is a somewhat unusual case, as the Government has made direct orders to companies - on July 28 of this year the Director of the MHLW's Inspection and Safety Division within the Department of Food Safety, Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau, gave direct orders to related companies, including those producing powdered milk, concerning screening for radioactive materials in milk formula products. The Government pays considerable attention to these issues on a daily basis. For further details I ask that you refer your inquiries to the MHLW.


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