Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  February 2012 >  Tuesday, February 7, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting today. The meeting approved 12 general measures and also draft bills, cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for the Environment made a statement concerning changes to the Basic Policy on Promoting Green Purchasing.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, Minister Matsubara made a statement on measures to strengthen the structures of the Headquarters for  the Abduction Issue and Minister Hirano made a statement concerning further efforts to deal with heavy snowfalls on the basis of local surveys.


REPORTER: According to some press reports the United States government has tabled a proposal concerning the partial relocation of U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa to the Iwakuni Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Could you tell us about the current status of negotiations regarding this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: To give a concise response to your question, the governments of Japan and the United States are not conducting negotiations concerning the relocation of U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa to the Iwakuni Base.


REPORTER: I have a point I would like to confirm concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The prior consultations on the TPP are scheduled to begin with the United States from February 7. Does the Government intend to enter into the consultations with a policy of putting all items up for negotiation regarding abolition of tariffs?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have seen these press reports myself, but with regard to the response to comprehensive economic partnerships, the Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships states that "...the Government of Japan, while taking into consideration the sensitivity of trade in certain products, will subject all goods to negotiations for trade liberalization and, through such negotiations, pursue high-level economic partnerships." However, we have not yet reached a stage where specific exchanges in consultations with relevant countries are made public. The Government seeks to enter swiftly into consultations with other related countries toward participating in negotiations and efforts will be made to gather further information as to what each country would expect from Japan. Based on these, and after a process of sufficient national debate faithfully from the viewpoint of the public, a conclusion will be reached concerning the TPP. That is the current stage which we are at.


REPORTER: There have been some press reports that the Oi Nuclear Power Station will resume operations in April. What are the facts behind these press reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: These reports are more than a little hasty, because, as you know, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has yet to come to a conclusion. Also, as you know, the conclusion of NISA will need to be verified by the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC), and therefore the press reports are getting ahead of themselves somewhat. Nothing can be taken for granted or predicted about the restarting of the power station at this point. I believe you are referring specifically to Units 3 and 4 of Oi Nuclear Power Station and the results of the stress test evaluation for these units have yet to be confirmed by NISA. Therefore no specific goals have been set, nor are coordination efforts underway towards a specific restart date.


REPORTER: Could you tell us about the details of the statement in the Cabinet meeting by Minister Matsubara, concerning the enhancement of the structures of the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: At the sixth meeting of the Headquarters for  the Abduction Issue held in December last year, there was discussion on the subject of enhancing the structures of the headquarters and it was further decided to establish a study group under the auspices of the Liaison Meeting among the Cabinet Office and Ministries. At the Liaison Meeting among the Cabinet Office and Ministries due to be held tomorrow, February 8, the composition of the members of this study group will be reported and discussion will be held. Minister Matsubara was therefore informing the Cabinet ministers of these plans at the Cabinet meeting held today.

REPORTER: On a different subject, in the meeting of the Budget Affairs Committee of the Diet last week, in response to a question concerning the constitutionality of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in which the "Ashida Amendment" seem to be used as a basis, Minister of Defense Tanaka responded that he would listen to opinions and seek to understand the basis of this argument. I believe that the Government's stance on this issue has remained unchanged, regardless of the "Ashida Amendment." Has there been any recent change and could you furbish us once again with the Government's stance on this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In order to ensure accuracy I will read the relevant section. It is stated that Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan does not deny the inherent right to self-defense of Japan as a sovereign nation, and that the minimum level of force to exert self defense, backed by the exercising of the right to self defense, or in other words the possession of self defense capability, is not, nor ever has been, prohibited under the provisions of Article 9. The consistent view of the Government, therefore, has been that the Self-Defense Forces, as an organization possessing the minimum capabilities required to defend Japan, is not in contravention of the Constitution. I am aware that there are various discussions concerning the so-called Ashida Amendment, but the Government's view is that this is not something that is the direct basis for the constitutionality of the Self-Defense Forces. That is the interpretation as it stands today.

REPORTER: So the interpretation remains unchanged?


Page Top

Related Link