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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, January 5, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have an announcement regarding the replacement for the Director of the Office for Promotion of Medical Innovation. Prof. Yusuke Nakamura, Director of the Office for Promotion of Medical Innovation, has resigned from his post effective December 28. As his successor, Prof. Yoichiro Matsumoto, Professor at the School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, has been appointed as the new Director since yesterday, January 4. Prof. Matsumoto specializes in mechanical engineering and has made significant accomplishments in the research and development of medical equipment through medical-engineering partnerships. Furthermore, Prof. Matsumoto has been involved in the promotion of medical innovation policy as an observer to meetings on medical innovation. At the same time, I would like to report that former Director Nakamura has resigned from his post of Special Advisor to the Cabinet effective December 28. For details, please direct your questions to the Office of the Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary.



REPORTER: It is reported that President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea (ROK) will be visiting China from January 9 and holding talks on the China-ROK free trade agreement (FTA). What is the extent of the Japanese Government's understanding of the information regarding the talks on the China-ROK FTA? Also, what effect do you foresee it having on the Japan-China-ROK FTA which is now in the works?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I understand that, according to reports, the start of FTA negotiations will be announced at the summit meeting between the ROK and China. However, this is a matter which will be taken up at the summit meeting for diplomatic negotiations between these two countries, and Japan, not being a party to these talks, is not in a position to make any comments. With regard to the Japan-ROK economic partnership agreement (EPA), Prime Minister Noda and President Lee Myung-bak held meetings at the second half of last year and year-end, respectively. At the Japan-ROK summit meeting in October of last year, Prime Minister Noda stated that he would like working-level talks necessary for resuming Japan-ROK EPA negotiations to fully get underway with the aim of reaching an agreement on the resumption of the negotiations at the earliest possible stage. This view was supported by President Lee Myung-bak. The other framework Japan is involved in is the Japan-China-ROK FTA. The industry-government-academia joint research just concluded in December of last year, and I believe going forward, the three countries will be examining how to proceed from here.


REPORTER: If I may ask a question concerning our own report. According to our calculation, 10 trillion yen have been invested in nuclear fuel cycle in the last 45 years. This figure has been reported. What are your thoughts on this figure?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As to what I think, well, 45 years is a long period. Particularly in the field of science or basic science research, I believe it is generally natural that such research will cost a large sum of money over a long period. With regard to the so-called nuclear energy policy, including nuclear fuel cycle policy, this will be considered from zero at meetings of the New Nuclear Policy-Planning Council of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) for formulating a new Framework for Nuclear Energy Policy and meetings of the Energy and Environment Council, in light of last year's accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. I believe a conclusion will be reached by around summer of this year.


REPORTER: Concerning Futenma, I believe Okinawa Prefecture will be receiving the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) momentarily today. What are your thoughts on this? Also, I believe a series of steps will be taken moving forward. From a long-term perspective, I believe the Government envisions taking certain steps throughout the process up to the request for land reclamation approval. How does the Government intend to move forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe you are referring to the legal part pertaining to land reclamation. I understand that Okinawa Prefecture informed receipt of this part of the EIS. With respect to the local ordinance, Okinawa Prefecture noted that the number of copies submitted fell short and instructed that supplemental documents be submitted. In response, I understand that the Okinawa Defense Bureau will be taking a proper response. At any event, I have repeatedly said that the submission of the EIS is part of the administrative procedures stipulated by law. It is my hope that the procedures will move forward without further trouble.

REPORTER: Based on this, which I believe was one of the procedures, how will the Government be realizing the relocation (of Futenma Air Station)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: My comment at this time is always the same. It is our basic stance that efforts are made to reduce Okinawa's burden while bearing in mind the Japan-U.S. agreement. We will continue to listen sincerely to the people of Okinawa, explain the Government's thoughts genuinely, and make efforts one step at a time to obtain the understanding of the Okinawa people.


REPORTER: There are reports that North Korea has tried to export reagents for chemical weapons to Syria. What is the Government's understanding of this? Also, what are the Government's views on North Korea's attempts to date in relation to violating sanctions based on United Nations (UN) resolutions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Government of Japan has held a range of talks and worked together with relevant countries regarding the steady and full-fledged implementation of UN Resolution 1874. Since your question concerns an individual matter, the Government would like to refrain from commenting about specific information. Japan will continue to work closely with relevant countries for the steady and full-fledged implementation of (UN Resolution) 1874.

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