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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have one more item to report. Following the Cabinet meeting a meeting of the four ministers concerned took place with regard to the shoot down order to be issued by the Minister of Defense, and I hear that the Minister of Defense has recently issued a shoot down preparation order. If North Korea goes ahead with the launch it would be in contravention of United Nations Security Council resolutions and the Government is joining the governments of the United States and the Republic of Korea among others in calling strongly on North Korea to exercise self-restraint and refrain from implementing the launch. In anticipation of a scenario in which North Korea goes ahead with the launch, it will be necessary to take comprehensive measures to secure the safety of the lives and property of the people of Japan.  Based on the previous case in 2009, various considerations have been implemented. In order to prepare the necessary structures, the Ministry of Defense and the Self-Defense Forces have therefore been issued a shoot down preparation order by the Minister of Defense and a decision has been made to implement the requisite preparations. This morning, prior to the issuing of the order, the four ministers concerned, joined by the Deputy Prime Minister, engaged in consultations and shared their recognition of this situation. The National Security Council will be meeting this week and will further deliberate the response by the Government. For further details, please direct your inquiries to the Ministry of Defense.



REPORTER: According to a number of press reports it would seem that the submission of the comprehensive special business plan for Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will not be made in time for the end of the fiscal year and has been postponed. What is the Government's view of this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: With regard to the comprehensive special business plan, the designated procedure is that TEPCO will submit an application for financial assistance to the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund. The steering committee of the Facilitation Fund will then make a decision on the comprehensive special business plan, which will subsequently be submitted to the minister responsible for approval. Currently TEPCO and the Facilitation Fund are in consultations concerning the content of the plan and I have not yet received any report about when the application for financial assistance will be submitted from TEPCO to the Facilitation Fund and when the plan will be submitted by TEPCO and the Facilitation Fund for ministerial approval.  Both TEPCO and the Facilitation Fund are engaged in earnest considerations towards the formulation of the plan around this spring. Once the plan is submitted for ministerial approval, the Government will seek to make a judgment making due reference to legal requirements concerning whether the plan presents thorough business rationalization measures and whether prompt and appropriate compensation is secured under the plan. Therefore, it is unlikely that the plan will be compiled and finalized during the course of this week or next.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Nuclear Regulatory Agency. If it is not established on April 1, as initially scheduled, then for the interim it can be expected that safety inspections and verification will continue to be implemented by the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC), meaning that the verification of the safety of Ikata Nuclear Power Station will be implemented by the NSC. Given the fact that it is still unclear when the new Nuclear Regulatory Agency will be established, there are some people, including members of the NSC, who have expressed concern about whether proper verification can be implemented under such a structure. Does the Government consider that the current structure presents a problem with regard to verification and inspection?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have heard that yesterday the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) presented a report to the NSC concerning Ikata Nuclear Power Station and that the NSC has initiated considerations on the report it received. Naturally, in the interim period until the Nuclear Regulatory Agency is established, the Government seeks to ensure that no problems arise, such as a blank period until the launch of the new agency, and will continue to ensure that an appropriate response is made, in view of the status of deliberations on the draft legislation. The Government is particularly mindful of the need to ensure that there is no blank period until the establishment of the Nuclear Regulatory Agency.

REPORTER: I have a point of confirmation concerning TEPCO. In a previous press conference, you stated that, in connection with the comprehensive special business plan, TEPCO was engaged in diligent efforts to compile personnel-related plans by the end of March. Is there no change to this target at the current point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This is an issue that is not being led by the Government, but is rather something that is being dealt with by the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund and TEPCO as part of the comprehensive special business plan. Similarly to my response to the previous question, I reiterate that I have not received any report that the plan will be submitted for approval by the end of this week, so I assume that considerations are ongoing.

REPORTER: Do you have the impression that the consultations are encountering some degree of difficulty?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The current status is that neither I nor anyone else in the Government has received a formal report, either officially or confidentially.



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