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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: Can you comment on the reports that the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, the external agency under the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), may be physically installed in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)? In other words, can you discuss whether such a possibility exists or not?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I understand that Minister Goshi Hosono is also giving a press conference at MOE. From my side, I will say that the major premise is that the bill is first deliberated and passed at the Diet. In the context of establishing this agency, what is important is that we keep Fukushima in our heads at all times and that seamless and thorough efforts are made to take emergency responses and to ensure the safety of nuclear reactors. Minister Hosono has long been saying from the start or from previously that it is not optimal for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) to stay the same as before, including from the perspective of its image. I understand Minister Hosono expressed his belief that it is not desirable for the new agency to "rent" space in the same location as NISA. But first, the Government believes that what is important above all is to get this bill passed by the Diet.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the deputy minister-level consultations between Japan and the United States (U.S.). Does the Japanese basic stance remain unchanged that the premise of any agreement is that, at the minimum, the Futenma Air Station is relocated to Henoko? Also, while it is said that the contents of the agreements made during the consultations will be announced on February 13 to coincide with the U.S. announcement, is there any plan to bring forward the date of announcement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The press reports -- these are facts I cannot yet verify. My understanding is that the Japanese and U.S. Governments are now discussing how to move forward with the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan, in particular, the relocation of the Futenma Air Station in parallel with the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa to Guam, based on the idea of reducing the burden on Okinawa as early as possible while maintaining deterrence. I believe that is consistent with what the Prime Minister answered in his response to questions posed at the Diet. I believe this was also reported in the evening newspapers.


REPORTER: Today is the Northern Territories Day. Can you once again explain the Government's stance toward the resolution of the Northern Territories issue? Also, regarding something that came up at an earlier press conference, which is the issue of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) survey...


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Regarding your second question, I do not have any new information since then. Let me review, and if necessary, I will let you know tomorrow morning. I do not have any information at this present moment. As to the Northern Territories issue, this has been a pending issue over many years. I have had the experience of serving as the Chair of the Special Committee on Okinawa and Northern Problems. If you go there, you really see the dedication that everybody puts into this movement. This movement must indeed go on to ensure that this fervor does not dissipate.

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