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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, April 17, 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 15 general and other measures and also cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and I made a statement concerning the holding of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) and the Second Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize Presentation Ceremony.

Secondly, it has been decided that the Electricity Supply-Demand Verification Committee will be established under both the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting chaired by myself and the Energy and Environment Council chaired by the Minister for National Policy. The Committee will be asked to verify this summer's electricity supply and demand from a third-party standpoint. The verification findings will serve as the basis for considering this summer's energy-saving targets, which are expected to be decided at the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting and the Energy and Environment Council as early as after the Golden Week holiday. It was decided that the Committee members will consist primarily of the members of the Cost Estimation and Review Committee of the Energy and Environment Council. Regarding the schedule, it is hoped that the first meeting will be held as early as possible, and that based on thorough discussions, a conclusion will be reached on the energy-saving targets after the Golden Week holiday.

I have one more announcement, which is about the second meeting of the Ministerial Meeting on the Advancement of Disaster Waste Management that was held before the Cabinet meeting. First, the Minister of the Environment gave a report on the status of progress of the disaster waste disposal and the status of the responses received from municipalities regarding the request for cooperation with the wide-area disposal. We believe that municipalities actively considered the request made in March by the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment. The municipalities which have given a positive response to the request this time, in addition to the municipalities which have already accepted the request or have made specific requests, together, number 26 prefectures and 13 ordinance-designated cities. Also, with regard to the initiatives for promoting the reuse of waste, the Minister for Reconstruction, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism gave a report, respectively. Lastly, based on these reports, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda set out the three items that are part of the Government's policy going forward:

  1. Take steps to realize the disposal by giving priority to municipalities which have already been coordinating with the disaster-affected areas and are highly likely to accept the waste, and for other municipalities, take steps to promote their gradual acceptance.

  2. Regarding the six industries, 70 companies, and 115 business establishments in the private sector, which have given positive responses with conditions attached, work out their specific requirements for accepting the waste and request their cooperation; Adopt a point evaluation system to increase the utilization of cement made from disaster waste for public works programs.

  3. Explore ways to develop concrete programs that make use of materials which are reproduced from disaster waste.
    Based on these three measures, the Government will continue to make concerted efforts to advance the recovery and reconstruction of the affected areas without stopping.


REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Electricity Supply-Demand Verification Committee. Who will be the head of this committee? Additionally, electricity supply-demand forecasts are also being reviewed within the Government's ongoing discussions on the restarting of operations at nuclear power stations. Will the Committee's discussions also be reflected in the discussions on the restarting of operations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, with regard to the Electricity Supply-Demand Verification Committee, the Chair is Senior Vice Minister of Cabinet Office Katsuyuki Ishida, and the Deputy Chair is Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seishu Makino. The Committee members include a majority of the members (of the Cost Estimation and Review Committee of the Energy and Environment Council) that I mentioned a moment ago. And for establishing this summer's energy-saving targets, the third-party committee will verify to review both the supply and demand of electricity throughout the country. With regard to Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), KEPCO's efforts to increase its electricity supply capacity was reviewed, and it was found that despite its efforts, KEPCO still faces a high likelihood of confronting a severe supply-demand gap situation that will exceed the supply-demand gaps experienced by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Tohoku Electric Power Company last summer. Even if we look into how much energy saving will be possible or how much other electric power companies will be able to accommodate in response to this severe supply-demand gap, we can still expect quite a severe situation. Therefore, the judgment regarding KEPCO's supply-demand situation at this point in time led to the decision to restart Reactors 3 and 4 of Oi Nuclear Power Station as of this moment in time.


REPORTER: (Abridged) So, once again, what is the objective?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This is something that was decided at the meeting of the Energy and Environment Council on April 13. The Electricity Supply-Demand Verification Committee was placed under the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting and the Energy and Environment Council with the purpose of carrying out a third-party, objective confirmation and verification of this summer's electricity supply and demand forecasts, and thereby, increase transparency and reliability. I believe the number one objective is to indeed have a third-party conduct a thorough review of the various findings which have been revealed to date.


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