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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: According to some press reports, there are plans to temporarily locate Osprey transport helicopters, which were planned for deployment to Okinawa, to a U.S. base on Honshu or a Self-Defense Force airfield in July. Could you tell us if such a move is being contemplated, and if so, the reason why?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: On June 6 last year, the United States Department of Defense announced that late in 2012 the CH-46 helicopters deployed to the Futenma Air Station would be replaced with MV-22 Osprey helicopters. The specific schedule for deployment of the new helicopters is currently being considered by the United States, and discussions on this issue have not been raised in talks between Japan and the United States. My comment at this point is that the Government of Japan will continue to request further information from the United States concerning the MV-22 helicopters and make efforts to gain detailed information, which will be used as the basis to provide a sincere explanation to the local governments concerned and assuage their concerns.


REPORTER: A number of press reports have noted that from last year the Government has designated 23 outlying islands as government property. What is the current status of such measures and what is their objective?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The press reports you refer to relate to measures that have been implemented steadily, based on the Basic Policy concerning Preservation and Management of Islands for Management of the Sea, which was decided by the Headquarters for Ocean Policy in December 2009 and also on the Basic Plan Concerning Preservation of the Low Tide Line and Development of Facilities to Promote the Preservation and Utilization of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf, which was approved by the Cabinet in July 2010. In specific terms, these measures are being implemented to contribute to the stable preservation of Japan's EEZ. With regard to the land in the vicinity of low tide lines on outlying islands, which form the basis for the demarcation of the EEZ, based on navigational aids in the vicinity of the outlying islands and also on hydrographic survey charts, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) has taken possession of 23 areas that have been designated as government property. These procedures were completed in August last year. These measures to designate islands as government property have been implemented for those outlying islands that form the source of Japan's EEZ and which have no clear ownership. This measure does not apply to the four islands of the Senkaku Islands, the naming of which was confirmed on March 1.

REPORTER: I would like to confirm that as the measure you have just described does not apply to the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands, does this mean that the Government will not be considering measures to designate them as government property?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The measures will be implemented in accordance with the Basic Policy, and as long as the content of the Basic Policy remains unchanged then there will be no consideration of this matter.


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