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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, May 14, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Today, from 7pm, a joint meeting, which is scheduled to last 30 minutes, of the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting chaired by myself and the Energy and Environment Council chaired by the Minister for National Policy will be held at the Large Meeting Room on the fourth floor of the Prime Minister's Office. At today's meeting, relevant ministers will hold discussions based on the report of this summer's electricity supply-demand forecast that was verified from a third-party perspective by the Electricity Supply-Demand Verification Committee, which has met six times since the end of last month. Discussions are also expected to start or take place on the basic guidelines for reviewing the electricity supply-demand measures for this summer.


  • The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting (especially on the Joint Declaration and North Korea)
  • Press reports that Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson was arrested
  • Japan-China Summit Meeting (on the Senkaku Islands)
  • Oi Nuclear Power Station

REPORTER: The Joint Declaration of the Trilateral Summit Meeting of Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) was released this morning. In the Joint Declaration, there is no mention of the situation of North Korea. What are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, then, I will speak about the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting as a whole. Trilateral cooperation among Japan, China, and the ROK is becoming well-established as an essential framework for the peace and stability of the region. At the latest summit meeting, the three sides concurred to further promote trilateral cooperation in wide-ranging areas, including cooperation in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In particular, the signing of the Japan-China-Korea Trilateral Investment Agreement was a significant progress for the establishment of the rules of the region. Also, at this summit meeting, the three sides concurred to commence negotiations on the Japan-China-ROK free trade agreement (FTA) within this year, and I believe this was a major achievement. The three sides will strive to realize a high level of economic partnership. Furthermore, with regard to North Korea going ahead with the launch of the missile on April 13, the three sides commended the Presidential Statement of the United Nations Security Council that strongly condemns the launch of the missile, and the decision to improve the effectiveness of the sanctions, in light of the repeated serious violations of Security Council resolutions. With that, the leaders were able to confirm that moving forward, it is important to prevent North Korea's further provocative actions and that the three countries will continue to cooperate. In addition, Japan raised, in particular, the importance of cooperation toward the realization of low-carbon growth and cooperation toward ensuring maritime security, among other matters, and shared Japan's recognition with both China and the ROK. My understanding is that through this summit meeting, the trilateral partnership and cooperation has made a significant step forward. Moving forward, we will advance further cooperation.

Also, with regard to the earlier question, at the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting, as part of the agenda item concerning the regional and international situation, the three leaders did hold an intensive exchange of views on North Korea's situation. I understand that statements (on North Korea's situation) were omitted from the Joint Declaration as a result of the repeated discussions which were held from a variety of perspectives among the three countries, including the exchanges among the leaders, on the phrasing in the Joint Declaration. In any case, at the summit meeting, the three sides have concurred to cooperate closely to urge North Korea to refrain from taking further provocative actions, and I understand that efforts will continue to be made to forge partnerships among the relevant countries, including China and the ROK, with regard to specific responses.

REPORTER: Chief Cabinet Secretary, in light of this agreement to urge North Korea to refrain from further provocative actions, each of the leaders expressed similar opinions at the joint press conference as well. Nonetheless, nothing about it was left in the Joint Declaration, and I find this a bit unusual. What are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I said a moment ago, I understand that the phrasing of the Joint Declaration was the result of repeated discussions among the three countries. At the meeting, China, which has the greatest influence on North Korea, explained that China is continuing its efforts to urge North Korea to refrain (from provocative actions) and is striving to guide North Korea, and Japan and the ROK commended these efforts of China as well.

REPORTER: Slightly changing the subject, there are reports that Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd has been arrested in Germany. Can you verify the facts which the Government is aware of? Also, I believe Japan, too, had put Watson on the international wanted list through the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO). Does Japan have any intentions to seek the transfer of custody and so on?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, as far as we are aware at this moment in time, these are news reports. There are reports that the leader of Mr. Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, was arrested at Frankfurt international airport. He was arrested at the international airport in Germany en route to France, on suspicion of dangerous ship navigation during the filming of a documentary film against shark finning in 2002 in Costa Rica, Central America. As you said a moment ago, Japan's Tokyo Coast Guard Office, too, issued an arrest warrant in April 2010 on suspicion of causing harm and forcible obstruction of business for obstructing a Japanese research whaling vessel, and the Japan Coast Guard in June of that year put Mr. Watson on the international wanted list. As detailed information is still not available, I cannot say more than that. Future actions and so on will be discussed from here on.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in relation to the Japan-China summit meeting, which took place yesterday. At the summit meeting, the two leaders had made clear their positions  on the issue of the Senkaku Islands. What are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: While a number of things have been reported with regard to the format of the exchanges, let me say a few words. Premier Wen Jiabao made a statement based on China's own claim, and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda discussed Japan's basic position and stated that it is not desirable for the problems surrounding this matter to have an impact on broader Japan-China relations. Premier Wen replied to the same effect. Prime Minister Noda noted on the fact that China's increasingly active activities in the sea, including the area around the Senkaku Islands, are inflaming the sentiments of the Japanese people, and strongly requested China's calm response. These were the exchanges.

REPORTER: With this year marking the 40th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations, there is a strong mood of friendship and both governments have made extensive efforts. What are your thoughts on the fact that the territorial issue or the Senkaku issue once again became a focus of attention in this context?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I also said a moment ago, the two leaders have both agreed, or rather, there are always a variety of issues facing the bilateral relations. However, indeed, it is not desirable for these issues to have  an impact on broader Japan-China relations. And I understand that this being an exchange between leaders, exchanges took place from this broad, comprehensive perspective.

REPORTER: I have a question related to this matter. During the meeting, I believe China made a statement, which can be interpreted to mean that the Senkaku Islands were a "core interest" of China. What is your interpretation of this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: While I have heard that there are such reports, my understanding is that, at the meeting, Premier Wen did not make any statements linking the issue surrounding the Senkaku Islands and the words "core interest."

REPORTER: Concerning this matter, I have heard that Premier Wen raised issues with regard to the Senkaku matter. Do you believe that this was influenced by the series of remarks and so on made by Governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara regarding the purchase of Senkaku?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The exchanges at the meeting on the issue of the Senkaku Islands are just as I have been explaining. As this is summit diplomacy and also concerns China, I would like to refrain from responding about any further details.

REPORTER: At the end of last week, pertaining to the restarting of operations at Oi Nuclear Power Station, there were reports that the Government is considering the establishment of a new council for monitoring the safety regulations in Fukui Prefecture, plus Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures. What is the status of the considerations? Also, can you once again explain what initiatives the Government is taking toward the restarting of operations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First of all, these are press reports. It is true that on May 10, when Senior Vice Minister (of Cabinet Office) Tadahiro Matsushita visited Governor (of Fukui Prefecture) Issei Nishikawa, the Governor requested that in the meantime until the Nuclear Regulatory Agency is set up as well, Prime Minister Noda lead the entire effort and instruct the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency or the Nuclear Safety Commission, and be fully prepared for an emergency and take charge of the matter. However, I am not aware of the fact that considerations are now being made to set up a council of some kind.

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