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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, February 6, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: The Reconstruction Agency is scheduled to be launched on February 10, this week. Today in a press conference Governor Murai of Miyagi Prefecture expressed both his expectation that the new agency will be an organization that will provide a truly one-stop, comprehensive service, and will not merely just add another layer of bureaucracy, obliging people to visit various locations. He termed his expectations in the form of an order to the Government. What is the Government's view of such local opinions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have not heard the content of Governor Murai's comments directly myself, but there was a similar question raised  in the Diet. The Reconstruction Agency will be established on February 10 to engage in overall planning and coordination of national policy for reconstruction. In terms of the agency's role it is expected to devise plans, including basic policies and others, as well as providing comprehensive coordination of reconstruction policies being implemented by the various ministries and agencies and also issuing advice and guidance. In this sense its organization and functions will respond to the requests received from disaster-affected local governments to provide one-stop services. I hope that the agency will engage in operations in a way that will respond to the expectations of Governor Murai.


REPORTER: In questions in the Diet committee there was a reference to the issue of the Futenma Air Station, noting that it would absolutely not remain permanently in its current place. Does this mean therefore that it will definitely be relocated to Henoko?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The concept of ensuring that the Futenma Air Station is not permanently located in its current place is something that has been confirmed by the governments of Japan and the United States and is something to which both sides are strongly committed. With regard to other matters, there has been no change to the content of consultations underway in the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee, the so-called "Two-Plus-Two" meeting since two years ago, and if there are any matters for the "Two-Plus-Two" meeting to consult about, then due consultation will take place. Basically, there is no change to the current position as  the response I made in the press conference this morning.


REPORTER: On a different subject, what is the Government's view of the current situation at the Unit 2 reactor of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, where the temperature at the base of the reactor containment unit is remaining constantly above 70 degrees Celsius, despite the increased injection of coolant water?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It was yesterday, February 5, that the temperature in the containment unit exceed 70 degrees Celsius, to be precise it reached a high of 73.3 degrees Celsius at 7:00am yesterday morning. Since then the temperature has decreased slightly and today it stands at around 70 degrees Celsius. Consideration is currently being given to response measures, based on the situation relating to the change in temperature and the concentration of radioactive materials in the reactor unit. I hear that a response policy will be finalized by this evening. The temperature increase has been recorded in just one location, on one measuring device and therefore the situation is one where various possibilities need to be examined. I would like to correct my previous statement. The temperature of 73.3 degrees Celsius was recorded at 7:00am today, not yesterday.

REPORTER: You have just stated that the temperature rise has been recorded in one location within the reactor. However, under the new regulations introduced following the announcement of the state of cold shutdown of the reactors, there is a requirement to ensure that the temperature remains under 80 degrees Celsius. If the temperature were to rise over 80 degrees Celsius, would this have an impact on the announcement made last year that the reactors had achieved a state of cold shutdown?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The recent temperature rise has been recorded in one location at the base of the reactor containment unit and the other sections of the reactor remain stable. The official response to your question is that if just one section of the reactor were to exceed a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius, under the regulations of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) this would not impact the cold shutdown status.

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