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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: Today, at a meeting on the legal system to protect confidential information, which was held at (the Diet Members Office Building of ) the House of Councillors by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, members of the ruling party were also among those who expressed opinions against this legal system. Can you once again explain the Government's objective in terms of getting this legislation passed as well as whether the Government still plans to go ahead and prepare to submit the bill to the ordinary Diet session?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The threat of information leakage is increasing. From the perspective of promoting information sharing with foreign countries, we believe it is indispensable and critical to establish a legal system for protecting confidential information. Based on the decision made by the review committee chaired by myself, the Government is now drafting a bill for establishing a legal system concerning the protection of confidential information, while fully respecting the public's right to know and the freedom of news gathering and so on. The Government would like to submit this bill to the Diet as early as possible. However, work is still ongoing, and the details and contents are still being examined. That's where we stand right now.


REPORTER: Regarding the first meeting of the Japan-United States (U.S.) consultations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), this morning you said that you had not been briefed yet. Do you have anything to report this afternoon?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Let me give you an overview though without much  detailed information. First, the meeting took place on February 7 from 2:00pm for around two hours. From the Japanese side, the directors-general and others from the relevant ministries and agencies attended, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. From the U.S. side, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler and others attended. Japan explained its Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's press conference on November 11, and Japan's structural framework for dealing with the consultations with relevant countries toward participating in the TPP negotiations. Japan also discussed the status of its consultations with the other eight TPP negotiating countries and consultations through Japan's dispatch of relevant ministry and agency members to Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, and Peru. The U.S. discussed the contents of the public comments recently received with regards to the opinions of the relevant industries associated with such items as automobiles, insurance, and agricultural products. It then explained the current status of the coordination now being made within the U.S. Both sides concurred that further consultations are needed moving forward and agreed to have follow-up consultations at the working level on February 21 and 22 in Washington DC. This is the only information that I am able to disclose publicly at this time.

REPORTER: Regarding the survey on tourism visas for Kunashiri Island, a question about which was also asked the other day, can you share what you have learned since then or the Government's response moving forward if any?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe the press reports suggested that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was conducting a survey on tourism. After inquiring with the UNDP about the facts, we received the following explanation from the organization. It said that while the UNDP project referred to in the reports is aimed at protecting biodiversity in Russia, among other objectives, the UNDP is not directly involved in the reported survey in Kunashiri Island and has no intention of carrying out a project in the Four Northern Islands. The Government asked that (the UNDP project) does not undermine Japan's position on the Northern Territories issue and that Japan will continue to pay close attention to the situation. The Japanese Government also stated that it would like to maintain communications with the UNDP moving forward. In addition, I received a report that the survey was implemented by a Russian NGO.


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