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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, March 8, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: The draft budget bill for fiscal 2012 has been passed by the House of Representatives. What is the Government's reaction to the passage of the budget?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The fiscal 2012 budget has been passed by the House of Representatives. The fiscal 2012 budget maintains the fiscal discipline as prescribed under the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and using financial resources gained from reductions in expenditure, it has expanded allocation for the Program to Prioritize the Rebirth of Japan to a scale of 1 trillion yen, which will be incorporated into measures that aim to contribute to the future economic growth of Japan. In addition, 3.8 trillion yen has been allocated from special accounts for reconstruction purposes, and will be implemented seamlessly for reconstruction and decontamination measures in the coming fiscal year. Overall the budget is one that is geared towards the rebirth of the Japanese economy and society. In order that these measures can be executed immediately from the start of next fiscal year, as the draft budget has currently only been passed by the House of Representatives today, the Government will submit it to the House of Councillors, making every effort to ensure its passage by the end of the current fiscal year. In addition, given the recent serious financial crisis in Europe the markets are looking with ever-more stringent focus on how every country is managing its finances. In order to avoid a situation in which the lives of the people and the economy are beset by needless confusion and also in order to boost the predictability of financial management and avert market unease, the Government will request that the House of Councillors deliberate the draft budget bill for fiscal 2012 with a view to ensuring its enactment by the end of the current fiscal year.


REPORTER: With regard to the issue of the Northern Territories, today in the Diet Budget Affairs Committee Prime Minister Noda rejected the idea proposed by President-elect Putin in an interview he conducted with various countries' media organizations concerning the possibility of returning two of the four islands. In his rebuttal the Prime Minister cited the percentages of land mass of the islands, noting that the combined land mass of the Habomai and Shikotan Islands is only 7 percent of the total land mass of the Northern Territories and that it would not be fair for the remaining 93 percent to be retained by Russia. At the time when Mr. Taro Aso was Minister for Foreign Affairs there was also mention of the Northern Territories issue in terms of land mass percentages. Does this mean that the Japanese Government is considering seeking a solution in terms of land mass proportions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to correct your statement on this point so that there is no misunderstanding. There is no change in the Prime Minister's intentions regarding this issue. It has been the long-held and consistent stance of the Government of Japan that the Four Northern Islands belong to Japan. Based on this stance, the policy of the Government to date has been to resolve the issue of the attribution of the Four Northern Islands and conclude a peace treaty, and there is no change whatsoever to this policy. I believe that the Prime Minister's statements in the Diet Budget Affairs Committee today were premised on that basic stance. Whatever the case, with regard to the issues surrounding the Northern Territories, rather than then press reporting who said what, it is important for inter-governmental consultations to be properly conducted in a calm and level-headed environment.


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