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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Japan-China relations (the Japan-China foreign minister's meeting on the occasion of the US General Assembly)
  • Consideration to review the Cabinet Secretariat's "confidential funds"
  • The expiration of the term of the Japan Fair Trade Commission Chairman

REPORTER: The Japan-China foreign ministers' meeting concluded earlier. Have you received any report on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have been informed that the Japan-China foreign ministers' meeting was held for about one hour from 7:30 pm on September 25, local time, and that the meeting has concluded. The preliminary report I have received from the delegation  is that while the atmosphere of the meeting was serious, both sides asserted their positions and agreed to continue to maintain communication, including at the working level.

REPORTER: I understand both sides agreed to maintain communication at various levels. Will communication opportunities between the leaders be explored going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In terms of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly session, the Prime Minister's counterpart is not in attendance. So, while various possibilities can be envisioned from the word "various," nothing specific is now planned or has been decided.

REPORTER: During the (foreign ministers') meeting, I believe China asserted that Japan's nationalization (of the Senkaku Islands) was a grave violation of the territorial rights and sovereignty of China. How did the Japanese Government respond to this Chinese stance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Japanese Government reiterated the claims it has been making to date. I believe both sides "asserted their positions."


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Cabinet Secretariat's "confidential funds." I believe you have said on various occasions, including in your address back in spring, that by around one year after the launch of the (Noda) Cabinet, you would like to pave the way to review the usage of the funds and to disclose the amounts, while looking at, in particular, overseas examples, etc. as reference. Can you explain the status of the current considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: More than one year has passed since I assumed my post in September of last year. As the person in charge of handling the funds, I to date have been enforcing them and verifying their usage, etc. with responsibility. As you stated in your question a moment ago, I do understand that while the funds are highly confidential, there are requests on the other hand to increase transparency with regard to their various aspects, including the usage. Therefore, based on a belief that one possible proposal is to disclose the payment record after a certain amount of time had passed - similar to the bill that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) previously submitted to the Diet, I instructed that this proposal be examined. In August, before the Noda Cabinet marked one year in office, I reviewed how much progress had been made with the study. Although broad efforts have been made to examine overseas examples, the fact is that there is very little information which is available. It is also the fact that when the Government inquired with respective countries through various channels, the relevant agencies of the countries were indeed very cautious about providing this information. In light of such reports, my current impression is that it is very difficult to achieve a balance between maintaining the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat's "reward funds" and ensuring their transparency. However, bearing in mind the significant request to achieve this balance, we will take further steps to fully understand similar systems of other countries to the extent that it is possible. As of now, a little more time is needed for doing this.

REPORTER: Are you still intending to continue this work of understanding overseas examples? It seems there is a limit to what can be done. Are you going to take a step further? Is that the image?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In terms of information disclosure, although the case is slightly different, there are some similarities with the efforts being made under Deputy Prime Minister Okada to create transcripts of Cabinet meetings and of the ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meetings. For these efforts, a study team has been dispatched to various countries, and I believe it has by now returned to Japan. They are examining whether the transcripts should indeed be disclosed decades later as well as the relationship with the existing Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs. For this reason, I believe their studies will provide some reference, and thus, I would like to see what they are doing. As you stated, we may very well not be able to find any more information on overseas examples of similar budget expenditures.


REPORTER: What is the new deadline that you have in mind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The deadline? I believe no kind of deadline will be set for carrying out this work. Although my initial thinking was around one year, we found that once we actually started doing this work, a little more time was necessary. However, I will absolutely not let this matter be left unresolved. I am committed to going through with the work. Or, of course, if a new Cabinet is launched, then I will provide a thorough report to the Cabinet about the progress which has been made to date.

REPORTER: I believe the term of the Chairman of the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) will be expiring today. I believe the Government has not made efforts to obtain the Diet's approval on the Chairman's replacement. Is my understanding correct that from tomorrow the Chairman's post will become vacant?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: An acting Chairman from within JFTC will serve as the Chairman in accordance with the law. The post will not be left vacant. Furthermore, sadly, one of the commissioners passed away in early September, and the number of commissioners is now down to three from five. Three is the minimum number required, and I understand that the acting Chairman will be selected from these three.


REPORTER: Are you considering having the Cabinet appoint the personnel before obtaining the Diet's consent, similar to the case of the Chairman of the (Nuclear) Regulation Authority?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: There are no such provisions, and therefore, the commissioners will be selected upon obtaining the Diet's consent.

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