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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, March 12, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: A ministerial meeting regarding the promotion of the disposal of disaster waste will be held tomorrow before the Cabinet meeting. Yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke during his press conference about establishing a ministerial meeting on debris. Based on this instruction, we have moved quickly in deciding to hold tomorrow, before the Cabinet meeting, a ministerial meeting regarding the promotion of the disposal of disaster waste, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister. The Government would like to also make use of these opportunities to unite and make progress on the wide-area disposal and recycling of debris with a sense of urgency.


REPORTER: Regarding your announcement just now on debris, so you are saying that while there are many ministerial meetings that are not headed by the Prime Minister, this particular ministerial meeting will be headed by the Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: While we have respectively been saying that Cabinet-wide efforts will be made, we wanted to demonstrate this clearly by having the Prime Minister take the lead in a form as well

REPORTER: I have a related question. At yesterday's press conference, the Prime Minister said that a request will be made to all prefectures, excluding the three prefectures in the disaster area. Is the request already going to be made tomorrow after the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes. In accordance with the law, a written request will be made formally to the prefectures to accept the debris from the disaster area. Also, there is the matter of the criteria for accepting the debris or disposal method. At present, we have only presented guidelines about this. Moving forward, we will be working quickly to examine the contents of the guidelines, including whether the criteria should be raised slightly higher. In addition, we would like to request the cooperation of more private companies that can burn the debris or utilize it as raw materials. That is basically what is happening. We want to make it clear that the Government will be making concerted efforts.

REPORTER: On a related matter, which ministers comprise the ministerial meeting other than the Prime Minister, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, Minister Goshi Hosono, and Minister Tatsuo Hirano? Can you tell us who the members are?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Prime Minister is the Chair, and myself, Minister Hosono, and Minister for Reconstruction Hirano are Vice Chairs. And the other remaining ministers? (Abridged) The members are: Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications; Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; and Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Other ministers will also participate when it is deemed necessary.

REPORTER: Today, Prime Minister Noda will be meeting with the Prime Minister of Mongolia. There are reports that the leaders will agree to start negotiations toward the conclusion of an economic partnership agreement (EPA). What are the expectations of the Japanese Government regarding the meeting's outcomes in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The meeting with Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold of Mongolia is scheduled to be held late this afternoon. The two countries have so far established the Joint Study Group of Japan-Mongolia EPA with the participation of representatives from industrial, academic, and government sectors, and the Joint Study Group has already submitted a report in March of last year. In this way, the two countries have enhanced their close friendly relations in a variety of areas in recent years, including trade and investment. At today's meeting between the leaders, I believe a variety of discussions will take place also from the perspective of advancing the development of a strategic partnership between the two countries. The agenda includes an item regarding the possibility of an EPA between the two countries. Since this is a summit meeting, we will have to wait to see what the outcomes are. Regarding what conclusions will be reached, if you can please wait until the summit meeting.



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