Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  September 2012 >  Tuesday, September 18, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  • The LNG Producer-Consumer Conference

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have one topic I would like to raise. I would like to talk about the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference. Tomorrow, on September 19 the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference will be held. It is the world's first international conference where both consumers and producers of LNG from the public and private sectors will meet. The conference will be hosted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. It is expected that more than 500 representatives, including government ministers, from 30 different nations will be in attendance. As part of the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment we seek to realize a society that does not depend on nuclear energy. Therefore, we expect much from LNG as a source of energy with relatively low carbon emissions. The LNG market has recently reached a turning point as production of unconventional gas such as shale gas in North America increases, while natural gas demand in Asia rises. In light of this, the conference aims to facilitate a better understanding of long-term LNG supply-demand trends and enhance transparency within the market. Of most significance concerning LNG, is how Japan  can source inexpensive supplies. It is our hope that through these discussions between producers and consumers, Japan will be able to work towards securing stable and cost effective supplies of LNG. For any inquires pertaining to this topic, please direct your questions to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.


  • Japan-China relations (the Senkaku Islands)
  • Japan's energy policy

REPORTER: My question regards the patrolling of the waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands. It has been reported that new Chinese patrol vessels have been sighted, could you please update us with the latest developments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Information Liaison Office has been established at the Prime Minister's Office and is currently collecting relevant information. As of now, I have been informed that the patrol vessel "Yuzheng" I mentioned this morning is still sailing within Japanese contiguous waters, while 10 additional patrol vessels known as "Kaikan" have entered Japanese contiguous waters. On the other hand, with regard to a large number  of fishing vessels, as of now we don't have any information suggesting that there is a large number of these vessels within Japanese contiguous waters. I believe that the Japan Coast Guard has the best understanding of any further details of the foreign vessels in the waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands.

REPORTER: My question relates to the previous question, I would like to ask about the vice-ministerial talks held this afternoon. I would like to know what kind of things were discussed and if you raised the topic of the economic damage that you mentioned at this morning's press conference.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: At the meeting, the state of Japanese companies operating in China was reported, as was the tourism and cultural exchange project situations. We also heard the latest economic and relational developments on the ground, the state of Japan-China relations and Japanese schools in China. Following these reports, I asked  that every effort is exerted to ensure the safety of Japanese citizens residing in China with utmost vigilance. I also asked for the continued collection and analysis of information and for close collaboration and cooperation. I concluded that through these efforts we will take all possible measures to ensure the security of our nation and citizens and maintain our national interests.


REPORTER: Following the series of demonstrations that have been occurring in China, does the Government has any intention to voice its stance to the international community?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Firstly, there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. The Japanese Government has made our basic position known on a number of occasions, including to foreign media. Moving forward, the Government will continue to do so.

REPORTER: Does the Government have any intention of using an international conference such as the General Assembly of the United Nations to call for the understanding and cooperation of foreign countries on the matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: You specifically mentioned the General Assembly of the United Nations in your question, and the Prime Minister is in fact scheduled to make an address in the General Debate Session. However, the content of the speech is currently under consideration so I would like to refrain from answering the question for now.

REPORTER: I would like to change the topic. With regard to the 40-year rule (of nuclear power plants), I believe that this morning you said, or you may have been understood to have said, that the Mihama Nuclear Power Station and the Tsuruga Nuclear Power Station, which are both more than 40 years old, will be decommissioned in the near future. Is my understanding correct or was your comment an expression of your intent to abide by the three principles?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: You are correct. Please read my words thoroughly, what I meant was that we will advance while abiding by the three principles. Matters such as this must be in compliance with the law and are not decisions that can be left to the Government's discretion; the decisions must be made by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. When I say that we must comply with law, I mean that the decisions on how to deal with nuclear power stations that are over 40 years old should left to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority. The Government has made its stance clear in the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment that it will abide by the three principles.


REPORTER: My question concerns energy policy. This was also raised this morning, but if the Government is to stick by its policy of reducing nuclear energy reliance to zero by the end of the 2030s, the nuclear power stations currently under construction, including the Shimane No. 3 reactor, will have to be decommissioned before they are 40 years old. I believe they will be somewhere between 20 to 25 years old when they are put out of operation if the government stays true to its targets. Am I right to understand that this is the Government's ideal outcome?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: We do have this goal as you described. We are trying to look beyond the immediate future but there are very few things that we can say with certainty when speaking about the renewable energy or the international energy situation and therefore, the plan has been developed to be flexible.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment. During talks between Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hirano and Governor Nishikawa of Fukui Prefecture, the Minister expressed his intentions to maintain "Monju" (fast breeder reactor). However, the strategy clearly states that research will conclude after assessment of research outcomes. What is the Government's view on the continued operation of "Monju" and how is the creation of a plan to wind up the research progressing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe that the comments by Minister Hirano in Fukui were meant to clarify that the approach to the reactor has not been significantly altered.  One of the decisions made at the recent Energy and the Environment Council meeting was that they were to summarize the research outcomes of the development of the fast breeder reactor and that the results will be effectively utilized for the nuclear fuel cycle policy. It was also decided at the recent Energy and the Environment Council meeting that the new focus on research should be placed on reducing the volume and toxicity of spent nuclear fuel which contribute to a decrease in environmental burdens. Following the meeting, Minister Hirano visited Governor Nishikawa and the Mayor of Tsuruga City, Kawase, to inform them of these decisions.

(Abridged) I also asked another question, it was concerning how the creation of a plan to wind up the research progressing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: We will be discussing that in the future. The Energy and the Environment Council has yet to develop specific plans as to when "Monju" will be decommissioned.


Page Top

Related Link