Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  September 2012 >  Thursday, September 20, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, September 20, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Japan-China relations (the Senkaku Islands)
  • Nuclear-related testing by the U.S.
  • The deployment of the Osprey aircraft
  • Restarting operations at nuclear power stations

REPORTER: It has been reported that two Chinese military vessels are cruising in waters approximately 150 km from the Senkaku Islands. Could you inform us of the facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am aware of this media report. Although the vessels are in waters outside of Japanese contiguous waters we still have interest in the movements of Chinese vessels in areas outside of Japanese regions, and have been monitoring the region. However, I cannot reveal any details of the information we have gathered.


REPORTER: I would like to ask another question in regards to the Senkaku Islands. It is feared that the Chinese patrol activities may become a regular occurrence, could you tell us if you have a policy for dealing with this kind of situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Let me first provide you with the details of the current situation. As of 10:30 am, 10 Chinese government vessels, four Kaikan vessels and six Yuzheng fishing patrol vessels, have been confirmed as being in the water surrounding the Senkaku Islands. Furthermore, one Yuzheng fishing patrol vessel is sailing within Japanese contiguous waters near Uotsuri Island. No matter what developments take place, the Japanese Government will remain vigilant, gather information, and exert every effort in patrolling and surveilling the waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands with the close cooperation of relevant ministries and agencies.

REPORTER: I would like to ask another question in regards to the Senkaku Islands. It has been reported that Mr. Xi Jinping, who is expected to become the next President of the People's Republic of China, is making strong protests, commenting that the nationalization of the Senkaku islands is a farce during talks with the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. It is feared that similar criticisms will continue to come from the next Chinese regime and that the negative influence on Japan-China relations will be prolonged. Could you share with us how the Japanese Government see this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Both the Japanese and Chinese Governments have been asserting their respective claims and I believe both Governments will continue to do so. As I said, the Japanese Government will exert every effort in patrolling and monitoring the waters around the Senkaku Islands.

REPORTER: Last night, Prime Minister Noda spoke on a commercial TV program, commenting that the Government is considering sending a special envoy in an effort to improve Japan-China relations. Could you provide us with any more details?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Japanese Government has always communicated with China in various ways and maintained the stance of settling this issue peacefully with calm. I have been informed that Prime Minister Noda referred to the special envoy in the context of emphasizing that the Government will communicate by various means, including political and business channels, in addition to this diplomatic channel. However, I believe that the Prime Minister made this comment before any formal decisions concerning the special envoy, such as whom and how, have been decided.

REPORTER: Prime Minister Noda commented on TV the other day that the People's Republic of China should be held responsible for the damage caused to Japanese businesses and the Japanese Embassy in China. I would like to ask if the Japanese Government is planning to ask for compensation and if it is requested, will the request be directed to the Chinese Government.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: With regard to private companies, I believe that it should be primarily resolved through the Chinese domestic legal system. If those Japanese companies need any assistance from Japan, we are, of course, ready to provide consultative support. The Embassy and Consular Offices are government offices, so I believe this will be dealt with at a Government level and compensation for damage caused will be requested.


REPORTER: I would like to change the topic. It has been revealed yesterday that the  United States carried out the 5th new type of  nuclear test. Does the Government have any intention to make a protest?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to establish what happened. We have been informed that the United States regularly conducts research testing to assess the performance of plutonium under extreme pressure and temperature in order to maintain the safety and effectiveness of the nuclear weapons which the United States stores. I understand that these experiments do not involve explosions prohibited by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and are also different from the critical tests that the United States has conducted in the past where nuclear fissile material is imploded using high-powered explosives. Japan has been supporting initiatives to realize a world without nuclear weapons led by President Obama of the United States and we are determined to lead international discussions together with the United States and as such, the Japanese Government has no intention of protesting the recent testing.

REPORTER: You said the testing does not violate the CTBT, but in reality the cities that suffered atomic bombing and their local municipalities have voiced protests and yet the Government has no intention to make a protest based on moral grounds?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe that we are not going to make a protest, even one based on moral grounds because Japan and the United States share a mutual understanding, and President Obama has clearly displayed the United State's stance of working toward realizing a world without nuclear weapons, while Japan too has expressed our support for this cause. However, I am aware that the cities that suffered atomic bombing have voiced protests.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the Osprey. It has been reported that they may be deployed at the Futenma Air Station as early as September 28. What is the actual schedule?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yesterday the Government announced that the operation of the MV-22 Osprey has been confirmed safe.  Yesterday, (Defense) Minister Morimoto visited Yamaguchi to communicate the significance and safety of the deployment of the Osprey. Next week, we will attempt to do the same in Okinawa with sincere empathy. Therefore, there are no specific dates for deployment.

REPORTER: During yesterday's press conference, the Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairperson, Shunichi Tanaka commented that it may be difficult to develop new safety standards for nuclear power stations before the end of the year. Am I correct in understanding that no nuclear power stations will be restarted before the new safety standards are finalized? Or, considering that electricity supply is expected to be tight this winter in areas such as Hokkaido, are you going to discuss the possibility of restarting nuclear power stations under the current provisional standards before the new standards are finalized?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Firstly, electricity demand in Hokkaido is higher in winter than it is in summer. We are soon commencing discussions on determining this winter's forecasts for electricity supply and demand levels and possible measures by analyzing this summer's supply and demand. However, I believe that this is not something we can afford to spend too long in making decisions. Therefore, as soon as we know with more certainty after considering more details, we would like to make an official announcement in regard to this supply and demand issue. On the other hand, in relation to the restarting of nuclear power stations, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which began yesterday, will be responsible for making independent assessments of nuclear power plant safety, and there are no changes to our policy that only those plants for which safety is confirmed will be restarted.


Page Top

Related Link