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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, February 24, 2012 (PM)

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 Prime Minister Noda's visit to Okinawa. Prime Minister Noda will visit Okinawa from Sunday, February 26, to Monday, February 27. He will meet with the Governor of Okinawa and the Chair of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly and explain the initiatives for swiftly reducing Okinawa's burden through Japan-United States (U.S.) discussions as well as initiatives for the promotion and development of Okinawa, among other matters. The Prime Minister is also expected to observe the current situation of the Futenma Air Station and the status of Okinawa's promotion and development, among other things. Final arrangements are still being made with regard to the details and the itinerary.


REPORTER: Regarding this visit to Okinawa by the Prime Minister, which will be Mr. Noda's first since becoming Prime Minister, can you once again discuss the significance of making this visit at this moment in time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As was also stated in the announcement that I have read out, the Prime Minister will have formal meetings with the Governor of Okinawa and the Chair of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly. Moving forward, Japan and the U.S. will start discussions on measures that heretofore were linked to the "package." That is to say, the two countries will discuss reducing Okinawa's burden by achieving the return of the base areas south of Kadena ahead of other issues. That is the direction that we are going in. This is the point in the process that we are in. Additionally, this year marks the 40th year anniversary of Okinawa's return to Japan. Furthermore, bills for the revised laws, which will remain in effect for ten years, have been submitted to the current session of the Diet. The Prime Minister will therefore once again explain such initiatives for the promotion and development of Okinawa.


REPORTER: The U.S. Department of the Treasury has decided to impose sanctions, including asset freeze, on the leader and the No. 2 man of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the crime syndicate in Japan. What are the Japanese Government's thoughts on this decision of the U.S.? Also, to date how has Japan been dealing with issues surrounding the assets of the senior members of such crime organizations? Will the Government be strengthening its surveillance and crackdowns? I would appreciate it if you can share your thoughts on this.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Was your latter question in reference to measures in Japan?


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: OK, in Japan. With regard to the U.S. sanctions on the so-called international crime organization involved in serious criminal activities, I understand that the designation of the Yamaguchi-gumi based on the U.S. presidential executive order will result in and have the effect of, for example, freezing all financial transactions involving the crime organization. This matter is entirely a matter of the operation of U.S. domestic laws and ordinances. I believe measures against organized crime groups must continue to be strongly advanced, bearing in mind the strengthening of these regulations against international organized crime groups. As this is a matter which concerns measures related to criminal organizations, naturally the Japanese Government is watching with interest and it has been exchanging various information with the U.S. on a regular basis.


REPORTER: The U.S. and North Korea are holding high-level talks. It is reported that the two sides have discussed issues such as the nuclear issue and the food issue. What is the Japanese Government's view of these latest discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I understand that the U.S.-North Korea dialogue is taking place over two days, on February 23 and today, February 24. North Korea must take concrete action to show its intention to seriously execute its commitment expressed in the Six-Party Talks Joint Statement, beginning with denuclearization, and Japan, the U.S., and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have been working closely in urging North Korea to suspend its uranium enrichment activities. From this standpoint, naturally Japan is paying close attention to the outcomes of the U.S.-North Korea dialogue. At any event, Japan will continue to work closely with relevant countries, including the U.S. and ROK, in dealing with the North Korea issue.



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