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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 13 general measures and also personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Prime Minister Noda made a statement concerning a temporary acting Minister while Minister in charge is on an overseas visit. In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning a decision on the FY2012 Administrative Evaluation Program.

I would also like to report on the appointment of the President of the National Personnel Authority (NPA). Given that President Takeshi Erikawa's term of office has ended, it has been decided that his successor will be Mr. Tsuneo Hara, currently Commissioner of the NPA. This appointment will go into effect from tomorrow, April 11, and was today approved by the Cabinet. Given the harsh public opinions about the national public servant system and also the need to assess public duties and service from the perspective of the tax payer and make drastic improvements in terms of efficiency and mobility, it was considered that it would be appropriate to appoint someone who has private sector experience to engage in and advance reforms of the national public servant system. It is from this perspective that a decision was made to appoint Mr. Hara to the position of President of the NPA.


  • Resumption of state affairs by His Majesty the Emperor
  • Former Prime Minister Hatoyama's visit to Iran
  • North Korea (missile launch)
  • Restarting operations at nuclear power stations (power supply and demand)

REPORTER: Was anything said in today's Cabinet meeting concerning when His Majesty the Emperor will resume his official duties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: After leaving hospital on March 4, His Majesty the Emperor has been convalescing at the Imperial Residence in order to regain his strength and make a full recovery. In view of the progress of His Majesty's recovery it has been decided today that His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince be relieved from his duties to temporarily carry out state affairs on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor. This was today approved by the Cabinet.

REPORTER: On a related note, there are reports that His Majesty is intending to attend the celebratory events in the United Kingdom next month for the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. What are the facts behind these reports and what is the current status with regard to a possible visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The events to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II are scheduled to center around May 18. Regarding whether Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress will visit the United Kingdom, the matter is still being considered by the Imperial Household Agency, in view of His Majesty's condition. I believe that the Imperial Household Agency will provide you with the same response.


REPORTER: Do you intend to hear directly from former Prime Minister Hatoyama about the details of his visit to Iran?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: No, as Mr. Hatoyama visited Iran in his personal capacity as a Diet member, the Government will not be asking about the content of his visit.

REPORTER: From yesterday you have stated that Mr. Hatoyama visited Iran in a personal capacity, and yet there are those who have pointed out that the former prime minister has ended up being used by the Iranian side, which could have a negative impact on Japanese diplomacy. What are your views on this opinion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: There have been press reports to that effect, and Mr. Hatoyama himself has stated that the announcement made by the office of the President of Iran was entirely fabricated and he has expressed his great regret that such a fabricated statement should be issued. I believe that Mr. Hatoyama should lodge a protest to have the statement deleted. For its part, the Government has consistently stated that the timing of the visit was not good and that stance remains unchanged. However, if the result of the private visit by Mr. Hatoyama has been the issuance of a fabricated announcement, then I believe the Government would ask Mr. Hatoyama to lodge a formal protest against  the Iranian Government. Other than that there is nothing more for the Government to say regarding this matter.


REPORTER: You have refrained from giving specific details about the contents of measures to respond to the missile launch. Have instructions been given to Cabinet ministers to make preparations to respond during the potential launch dates?


REPORTER: In the event that a launch takes place has it already been decided that an immediate response will be made by the Government, including the convening of a meeting of the Security Council?


REPORTER: Have instructions therefore been given to Cabinet ministers to remain in the vicinity of Tokyo during the potential launch dates?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have already stated that I cannot give specific details. The Government seeks to make a full response, with a due sense of urgency.

REPORTER: With regard to the restarting of operations at nuclear power stations, yesterday the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy issued an outlook for power supply and demand, in which it was reported that if the summer temperatures reach levels that were seen during the heat wave two years ago, a supply and demand gap of 19.6 percent would result. What is your and the Government's assessment of this 19.6 percent figure that has been announced?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As someone who is from Osaka I think the figures that have been issued will be very tough for those within the service area of Kansai Electric Power Company. Naturally requests will be issued to the public to save electricity, but I am aware that the figures that have been issued present a scenario for a very severe situation. The figures that were announced yesterday will need to be thoroughly examined and given consideration on whether further supply sources can be procured and whether further power saving measures can be implemented. These various considerations will be finalized and compiled ultimately into a full energy supply and demand outlook for the summer, which should be completed around the time of the national holiday at end of April and beginning of May.


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