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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: With regard to the next-generation fighter jet, the F-35, it is being reported that the introduction of the jet will be cancelled if the price soars, but is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I know that this is being reported, but I will refrain from commenting on the details of negotiations between the governments of the United States and Japan. That said, moving forward, when selecting models we will be strongly requesting that the cost and date of delivery be strictly adhered to by the supplier according to the request of proposal submitted. And this has been occasionally touched upon in discussions with the US side. For further details, I ask that you please inquire at the Ministry of Defense.


REPORTER: It is being reported that when there were examinations into the amount of internal radiation exposure received by the thyroid glands of children in Fukushima Prefecture directly after TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident, additional examinations requested by the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) to the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters were not carried out. Please tell us if this is true, and if it is, please explain why the examinations were not carried out.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, I believe that this was last year around March or April. The Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters carried out simplified measurement of the thyroid glands of 1,080 children in Iwaki City, Iitate Village and Kawamata Town from March 24 to March 30 and found screening values to be lower than those announced by the NSC. Based on these results, the NSC was consulted about what sort of response should be made, and in a letter from the NSC dated April 3, it was said that there was no need for immediate additional examinations, but that it would be desirable to make a judgment on the undertaking of final additional examinations by watching the situation at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station moving forward. Either way, the most important thing is to protect the health of the children of Fukushima, and so when Fukushima Prefecture carries out examinations of the health of all residents in Fukushima, an ultrasound of the thyroid gland is to be periodically undertaken for all children. So my answer at this moment in time is that we want to watch those results, and that more than anything it is necessary to continue to ensure the health of children.

REPORTER: Mayor of Nagoya City Takashi Kawamura received a courtesy call on February 20 from a group from Nanjing, China, which was the sister city of Nagoya City. In front of a member of the Communist Party of China Nanjing City Standing Committee, Mayor Kawamura stated that the Nanking Incident never happened. In the wake of this, last night in Nanjing it was announced that the city would be ceasing relations with Nagoya City for a time being. I would like to know how you take the statement by Mayor Kawamura and the response by Nanjing.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Nanjing and Nagoya were sister cities...

REPORTER: Sister cities.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes, it seems so. Since this has to do with a relationship between sister cities, I don't think that the national government should say too much about it. It is a problem that should be solved appropriately between the municipal governments of Nagoya City and Nanjing. I have heard that the announcement to halt relations for a time being was made on the microblog of Nanjing. Related to this issue, as to what the truth is - related to the "Nanjing Massacre", the government's position has been made clear in the Murayama Statement and at other times -I do acknowledge the existence of a variety of debate on the fact of the matter. I do not think it can be denied that after the Japanese Army took Nanjing Castle, there were acts such as killing of non-combatants and plundering in the city. The Murayama Statement earnestly recognizes that during a certain period in the past, through its colonial rule and aggression, Japan caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. The Statement states that Japan is resolved to never repeat war and to move forward as a peaceful nation. Ever since the release of that Statement, that has been the position  of the Government, and this has not changed.

REPORTER: Some reports are stating that negotiations are underway to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States. There are also reports that expect an agreement to be made on this during a Japan-US Summit Meeting. Please tell us the truth of this matter.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Nothing is yet decided, including when the Japan-US Summit Meeting will be held. The price of natural gas is currently falling in the United States thanks to the expanded production of Shale Gas. It is expected that the import of natural gas from North America could help Japan secure the cheap and stable provision of natural gas. From this perspective, Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seishu Makino visited the United States in September last year, and when he met with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, he made a request encouraging the export of LNG. It is true that since then we have called on the US Government at a variety of levels concerning this matter, and that our position now is that in the future we hope to proactively work toward promoting the import of natural gas from North America.


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