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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I would like to ask a question about the restart of nuclear power stations. Yesterday, the President of Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) gave a press conference. Regarding the restart procedures, he was asked how approval will be given for obtaining the consent of the community or the understanding of the community, and the President responded that in principle it will be up to the Government's decision. His statements seem to emphasize that it will be up to the Government rather than KEPCO. However, formerly, I believe you have said on these occasions of your press conferences that it is up to the nuclear operators to make a decision about the community's consent. What are your thoughts on the nuclear operator's stance of seeking the Government's decision regarding the community's consent?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I don't believe there is such a large discrepancy with what I have always been saying. I am not aware of the details of what KEPCO has said. As I have always been saying, for the restart, the nuclear operator must first conduct stress tests. The findings are then confirmed by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA). Their validity is also checked by the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC). Then, a decision is made at the Government-level, including on whether the community's understanding has been obtained. I have said this repeatedly. What you have said a moment ago is about when, for example, the safety agreement needs to be worked out. This is the job of the electric power company and local government. Therefore, it is the nuclear operator that primarily obtains the community's understanding for the restart. However, I believe it is the Government that makes the decision. I believe ultimately a political decision will be made, including about the scope of local authority of which obtaining understanding is required.


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