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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, February 6, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: With regard to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, last Friday Minister for Foreign Affairs Gemba announced that the Government had entered into consultations with the U.S. Government concerning the advance partial relocation of U.S. forces to Guam. Given that the U.S. federal budget proposal is due to be submitted on February 13, what plans are there to proceed with the partial relocation and what form is it expected to take?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Minister for Foreign Affairs Gemba has responded to questions on this issue in the recent committee meeting in the Diet. He responded that consultations have been continuing quietly between Japan and the United States with a view to minimizing the burden on Okinawa as early as possible, including in particular the relocation of the Futenma Air Station and the relocation of U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa to Guam. As for your question concerning what will take place on February 13, there are no plans for Japan and the United States to make any kind of announcement on that day and it is simply the case that consultations are ongoing.

REPORTER: On the subject of reducing the burden on Okinawa, does the Government intend to call on the United States to revise its policy of permanently stationing U.S. Marines in Okinawa?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: What revision are you referring to?

REPORTER: I am referring to the permanent stationing of U.S. Marines in Okinawa and whether the Government intends to request a revision to this policy, seeking for the stationing of Marines to be on a rotational basis.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Whatever form the final realignment takes, the aim is to have a force of approximately 10,000 U.S. forces stationed in Okinawa in the future, and there is no change to this policy that Japan the U.S. will continue to work towards this target. In that sense the number of U.S. force stationed in Okinawa will decrease.

REPORTER: So is the Japanese Government requesting that the number of permanently stationed U.S. forces be reduced to 10,000?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This is something that has been agreed in the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee, the so-called "Two-Plus-Two" meeting as the basic direction.

REPORTER: On the same topic, there are concerns that Futenma Air Station might not be relocated but remain in its current position. Although this possibility has been raised, is it still the Government's intention to ensure that the air station does not become a permanent fixture in its current location?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe that this is a topic on which the Prime Minister has provided responses in the recent Diet committee meeting. It is the Government's position that Futenma Air Station should not be permanently located in its current position. The governments of Japan and the United States both continue to recognize that the policy of relocating Futenma Air Station to Henoko as a replacement facility  is the best option, and the Department of Defense and the Department of State of the United States  are both strongly committed to this policy. I am aware of the press reports concerning the possible permanent location of the air station in Futenma, but the position of the Government is that such a policy is not tenable.

REPORTER: If the plan to relocate to Henoko is separated,  this would have an effect on the stated aim of achieving relocation by 2014. What is the Government's position on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This is a matter for the ongoing consultations in the forum of the "Two-Plus-Two" meeting, and I believe that there will be further discussion on this matter.


REPORTER: On a different subject, Russia and China exercised their veto in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), resulting in a UNSC Resolution on Syria failing to be adopted. What is the Government's view of this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The UNSC Resolution on Syria has been vetoed. Since March last year more than 5,400 people have lost their lives in the crackdown that has been continuing in Syria, and it was therefore necessary for the UNSC, as a body comprised of responsible members of the international community, to send out a strong message concerning the inhumane and anti-democratic actions being witnessed in the country. The fact that a resolution could not be passed is a great disappointment and is a regrettable outcome.

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