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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: It is being reported that former Minister of State for the Abduction Issue Hiroshi Nakai, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), has visited China and is interacting with senior officials from North Korea. How much does the Government know about this? Also, some are calling this dual diplomacy. Please share your thoughts on this.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am aware of the news. My understanding is that this is a case of a single DPJ Diet member conducting activities overseas. I do not believe that the Government is in the position to provide an explanation on the activities of each Diet member.


REPORTER: I would like to ask about the timing of the establishment of the Reconstruction Agency. Plans to convene the Diet seem to be fixing around January 23 or 24, but what timeframe do you have in mind for the establishment of the Reconstruction Agency and for appointing a new minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: With regard to the latter, there will be three people appointed, a minister and two senior vice-ministers, and that will likely take place once the Reconstruction Agency is established. Concerning the establishment of the Agency, Minister for Reconstruction in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake Tatsuo Hirano recently commented in the Diet that this would take place in early February, so that is what we are aiming for at present. However, please note that a fixed schedule has yet to be determined.


REPORTER: Changing the subject, Ms. Homare Sawa of the Japan Women's National Football Team ("Nadeshiko Japan") has been selected for the F?d?ration Internationale de Football Association's (FIFA) Women's World Player of the Year award and Mr. Norio Sasaki, coach of Nadeshiko Japan, was chosen to receive the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women's Football award. It appears that they were evaluated for their strenuous efforts in the face of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Please share your thoughts on this.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I think that the selection by FIFA is a truly joyous event for Japan. With regard to Ms. Sawa and the team's coach Mr. Sasaki, during the Great East Japan Earthquake of last year - amidst the truly diverse range of struggles faced by Japan - Nadeshiko Japan provided Japan with an extraordinary sense of hope and light, and they gave us courage. Frankly, I am overjoyed by this news.

REPORTER: Today, certain news outlets reported that preparations are underway for a special measures law in anticipation for an epidemic of a new type of influenza. It is being reported that this will be submitted to the ordinary Diet session. Please comment on the authenticity of this news and the status of considerations.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: With regard to countermeasures against a new influenza virus, since last year - actually, an action plan was drafted in September of last year. It is my understanding that considerations were carried out, concluding that legal measures would be necessary in order to boost the effectiveness of the plan. Currently, preparations are underway to draft a bill while hearing the opinions of the business community, medical experts, and others so that, if possible, the bill can be submitted during the current year's ordinary Diet session. For further details concerning the content of the bill, please inquire with the Office for Countermeasures against Novel Influenza at the Cabinet Secretariat.

REPORTER: This question is concerning the incident where three members of an anti-whaling group boarded a patrol ship of the Fisheries Agency without authorization. The Government of Japan has decided not to prosecute the three individuals and to return them to the Australian Government. Please comment on the facts and the decision-making process.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I was told that on January 8 activists of Australian citizenship boarded a Fisheries Agency patrol ship. With regard to their handling, when boarding the ship, and after boarding the ship, the three individuals did not engage in any unlawful or violent behavior. Furthermore, as members of Sea Shepherd, they were not confirmed to have taken obstructive behavior toward survey convoys in the past. It was also believed necessary to have the Fisheries Agency patrol ship continue its mission and to ensure a thorough response in addressing the various obstructive behavior that can be envisaged to take place in the future. Taking all of this into account, a judgment was made in a comprehensive manner to turn the three individuals in question over to the Australian Government.



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