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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, March 26, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: In the case that North Korea does in fact launch a missile loaded with a satellite, how does the Government intend to contact local governments about the launch? Will such systems as the J-ALERT System and Em-NET be put into operation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In April 2009, at the time of the incident in which North Korea launched a flying object, Em-Net (Emergency Information Network System) was used, the use of which is provided for under the stipulations of the Civil Protection Act. At that time the J-ALERT system was also in place, but few local governments were ready to put the system into operation. Since then the J-ALERT system has been further developed and advanced to ensure that it can be utilized to respond flexibly to various situations and I believe that on this occasion due consideration will be given to its utilization. Whatever the case, the Government is committed to making a comprehensive response that will ensure that the ministries and agencies concerned cooperate to provide the public with prompt and accurate information.

REPORTER: So do you anticipate that both the J-ALERT and the Em-Net systems could be deployed on this occasion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As has been reported in the media, from the perspective of speed, the J-ALERT system is quicker and naturally consideration is therefore being given to using both systems in tandem.


REPORTER: With regard to the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit 2012, in the recent Budget Affairs Committee in the Diet, the Prime Minister has stated that the Government will cooperate with countries concerned in response to the satellite launch. However, the Prime Minister is not scheduled to engage in any bilateral summit talks while attending the Nuclear Security Summit. Is the reason for the lack of bilateral talks this time due to the tight schedule relating to the domestic issue of the proposed rise in the consumption tax?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The reason that there are no bilateral summit talks scheduled is not entirely due to the issue of the consumption tax. Given the Diet schedule the Prime Minister's visit to the Republic of Korea will be less than 24 hours leavings, departing at approximately 7:30pm this evening and returning tomorrow around 5:00-6:00pm. Given the extremely tight schedule of the Prime Minister's visit from last week it was deemed to be difficult in terms of scheduling to request bilateral summit talks.


REPORTER: Returning to the topic of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, given that the Prime Minister is making a point of attending the summit, notwithstanding the incredibly busy domestic schedule, can we take it that the Government recognizes this summit to be of importance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I stated the other day, the Prime Minister's attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit is based on the recognition that the term "nuclear security" includes various perspectives and given that one year has now passed since the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station following the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.  Therefore, the Prime Minister considers it to be an important task to send out a message concerning Japan's experience of the accident, the lessons learned and the details of investigations that are still ongoing, given that such a huge accident on its nature and scale was one that was unprecedented in the world and also, of course, the first time for Japan to experience. Also, given the high degree of interest and concern in global "nuclear" and "nuclear power generation" issues, and in view of the fact that the leaders of more than 50 countries will be attending, the Prime Minister naturally made the decision to attend the Summit.

REPORTER: The 17 nuclear reactors of TEPCO have now all been stopped, which raises concerns about power shortages during the summer months. What is the Government's view of this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In November last year the Energy and Environment Council compiled an outlook, in which it was hypothesized that if no nuclear reactors were restarted and that if demand rose to the peak demand experienced during the heat wave of 2010, in the event that no effective countermeasures were implemented it was projected that a power supply and demand gap of 10 percent would occur. Given this outlook, various considerations have been implemented with a determination to ensure that all means are mobilized to eliminate the power supply and demand gap, based on the Action Plan to Stabilize Energy Supply and Demand. With regard to the specific measures for the summer, details will be compiled around the time of the Golden Week national holiday (the end of April and early May) after reviewing and revising the supply and demand outlook in detail. I believe that Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Edano has provided a response to this effect in the Diet. Given the fact that if a decision is made early, there will still be aspects of the outlook that are unclear, and also in light of the fact that if a decision is made late, it will be difficult to respond, so far the Government intends to compile the measures targeting around the time of the Golden Week national holiday as one important timing.


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