Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  April 2012 >  Wednesday, April 25, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • A cattle infected with BSE in the U.S.
  • The realignment of U.S. forces in Japan
  • A possible active fault directly under the Tsuruga Nuclear Power Station
  • The 60th Anniversary of the entry into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on April 28
  • The deployment of "Osprey" transport helicopters to the Futenma Air Station

REPORTER: A cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has been detected in the United States. What is the Japanese Government's reaction and will this case have an impact on moves to ease import restrictions of U.S. beef?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I will first give you the facts, as they have been reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As part of the standard targeted surveillance system of the USDA, the fourth case of BSE has been detected in an aged dairy cow older than 30 months that was raised in California. As the animal in question was not a beef cow there has been no distribution of meat. With regard to the issue of imports of U.S. beef to Japan, the current conditions for import are that only meat from cattle of an age less than 20 months are imported. Given that the animal in question was of an age greater than 30 months, the Government believes that no particular measures are required with regard to imports. The Food Safety Commission (FSC) is currently carrying out various deliberations on this matter, thus the Government will provide detailed information it receives from the United States to the FSC.

REPORTER: I believe that consideration is being given to relaxing the conditions on beef imports to include cattle under the age of 30 months. Do you think this case of BSE will impact these considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The FSC is an independent body with a great deal of expertise in scientific and technological matters, and I therefore do not believe this current case will impact the considerations that are currently underway.

REPORTER: I have a question relating to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan. The Minister of Defense has recently announced in a press conference that the announcement of the interim report that was scheduled for today has been postponed. Could you tell us what the current status of progress is and what has been said by the U.S. side on this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to report on the facts of this matter. On April 24, U.S. time, U.S. Senators Carl Levin, Jim Webb and John McCain apparently submitted a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in which they suggested that it would be premature to make any announcement concerning the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan. Given that the U.S. side in particular requires further time to make final adjustments to the content of the report  concerning the realignment of U.S. forces, the announcement scheduled for today has been postponed. However, the aim is to announce the interim report in the near future, at the very latest prior to the Prime Minister's visit to the United States.


REPORTER: The Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency (NISA) has reported the possibility that the Tsuruga Nuclear Power Station (in Fukui Prefecture) is built directly above an active fault line. What is the Government's response to this finding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: On April 24, NISA implemented an onsite visit with NISA assigned experts for hearings for the purpose of confirming whether or not the fault fracture zone within the grounds of the power station is active or not. The result of this onsite survey was that the experts pointed out that although it is not possible to tell the age of activity in the fault from the characteristics of the fault fracture zone, there is a possibility that the fault is being pulled down by the movement of the Urazoko fault. The results of the survey will be further analyzed and discussed properly in a hearing, which will decide whether further additional surveys are required.


REPORTER: April 28 will mark the 60th anniversary of the coming into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. This was the day on which Japan regained its sovereignty and currently there are a variety of issues that relate to the nation's sovereignty, including the revision of the Constitution and territorial issues. What sort of significance do you think this day holds for Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As you say, April 28 will mark the 60th anniversary of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. This was the day on which Japan fully regained its freedom and sovereignty and was restored to the post-war international community. In that sense, I believe that the San Francisco Peace Treaty was not only the cornerstone for Japan's postwar development, but also formed the basis for peace and prosperity of the international community. Sixty years on from the treaty, the Asia-Pacific region in which Japan is located is a global growth center and is a region that is driving global economic development. At the same time, however, it is a fact that the process of changes to the existing order are exacerbating some instabilities and the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming more severe. Given this situation, in order to ensure the prosperity and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, Japan continues to seek to play a substantive role in the regional order and creation of rules, founded on the linchpin of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, while also seeking to strengthen bilateral ties with neighboring countries and utilize frameworks in which a broad spectrum of countries and regions participate.


REPORTER: With regard to the timing of the deployment of "Osprey" transport helicopters to the Futenma Air Station, there have been some press reports that suggest that the U.S. is considering moving up the deployment plan from autumn to July. What are the facts of this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am aware that in the latter half of 2012 it is planned to replace the current CH-46 helicopters with MV-22 Osprey helicopters. I believe that the details of the timing and method of the deployment continue to be considered by the U.S. government.

REPORTER: Returning to the BSE case, I believe that in the prior consultations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, the United States has been stressing that it seeks market opening for beef imports. I believe that the discovery of this case of BSE may prompt domestic skeptics of the TPP to call for a more circumspect approach to consultations. What impact do you think the BSE issue will have on TPP-related consultations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: To avoid misunderstanding I would like to reiterate that the Food Safety Commission (FSC) is engaging in deliberations concerning measures to respond to BSE overall, including the domestic inspection structure and import conditions. These deliberations are based on the latest scientific knowledge. In other words, I believe that it is necessary to understand that the BSE issue is a completely separate matter from TPP-related discussions, and is a matter that is being responded to separately on the basis of scientific knowledge.


Page Top

Related Link