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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, February 27, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: Prime Minister Noda is currently visiting Okinawa Prefecture for the first time since his appointment as Prime Minister and this morning he met with the Governor of the prefecture. Have you heard about the content of this meeting? In particular, do you have any information about what was talked about in relation to the realignment of U.S. forces in the prefecture and the relocation of the Futenma Air Station to Henoko?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The meeting held this morning between the Prime Minister and the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture was entirely open to the press, so what you heard was exactly what was talked about. My understanding of the meeting was that it confirmed the specific measures that will be taken to promote and develop Okinawa and to reduce the burden on the prefecture, and in so doing seek to build relations of trust between the Government and the prefecture. Discussions surrounding the relocation to Henoko have yet to converge in agreement and the Prime Minister explained this morning that he would continue to work tenaciously on this issue in specific terms, based on evidence rather than theory. In addition, in the meeting it was confirmed by both the Prime Minister and the Governor that Futenma remaining permanently in its current location is to be avoided. My impression was that the Prime Minister had gained the understanding of the prefectural government on this point, from what I heard of his comments to the press following the meeting.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the issue of the costs for relocating U.S. Marines currently stationed in Okinawa to Guam. If it is the case that the number of U.S. Marines moving to other locations is indeed reduced, do you believe that the US$6 billion cost burden to the Japanese Government, as originally stipulated in the Japan-U.S. Agreement, should be similarly reduced, or do you think that leaving the Japanese Government's cost burden at its current level is a realistic option? Leaving aside the current Japan-U.S. consultations, what is the policy on this issue and what is your view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: A press sheet has been distributed on this issue, but it is the case that a deputy director-general level meeting between Japan and U.S. foreign affairs and defense-related authorities is taking place in Tokyo today and tomorrow. Discussions in that meeting are scheduled to cover the issue of realignment of U.S. forces. The issue of realignment was addressed in the recent Japan-United States Joint Statement on Defense Posture, in which it is stated that the relocation of U.S. Marines to Guam and the resulting land returns south of Kadena are to be delinked from the issue of the relocation of the Futenma Air Station, and consultations will take place on adjustment of the Realignment Roadmap. The issue that you have just mentioned will also be addressed as part of consultations, which - rather than being based on a specific policy - will seek to consider how to make progress on issues that have been outstanding to date.



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