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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, April 3, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue regarding construction of the Oma Nuclear Power Station
  • The press report in Hong Kong regarding situation between Japan and China

REPORTER: The Hakodate Municipal Government recently filed a lawsuit against Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-POWER) demanding that the construction of the Oma Nuclear Power Station in Aomori Prefecture be halted. This is the first lawsuit to be filed by a local government against the Government over a matter concerning nuclear power. Can I ask what the Government’s basic response will be?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, today Hakodate Municipal Government filed a lawsuit with Tokyo District Court against the state and the utility company, seeking the halting of construction of Oma Nuclear Power Station, among other claims. At the current stage the letter of complaint has yet to be delivered and as I am therefore unaware of the details of the case I will refrain from making any further comment. However, what I would say is that Oma Nuclear Power Station had previously been granted permission as a site for a nuclear reactor and is not a new or expanded construction. It is first of all important to understand that, before operations actually commence at the power station, the independent Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) must grant approval and confirm that the power station conforms to the NRA’s regulatory standards, which are the strictest in the world.

REPORTER: Hakodate is in Hokkaido and is therefore not the local government where the power station is actually located, but a peripheral local government. This means that Hakodate’s approval is not required for construction of the power station. However, Hakodate is at the shortest distance from Oma Nuclear Power Station, situated only 23km away in beeline. Hakodate would therefore be likely to sustain significant damage in the event of an accident. Hakodate Municipal Government is asserting that it is nonsensical for its approval to not be required, given the close proximity. What is your response to this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it is the case that electric power utility companies that operate nuclear power stations under the conclusion of the  safety agreements with local governments to ensure the safety and security of local residents in response to local conditions. I am aware that the case that you mentioned concerns the issue of a safety agreement between the nuclear power station and the local government. In light of this, as I have always stated, at the stage when the NRA has confirmed the safety of a power station, the power utility company will reasonably make efforts to carefully explain the situation to gain the understanding of those concerned, including the local governments where nuclear power stations are located. At such a time the central government will also seek to provide thorough explanations relating to safety.


REPORTER: According to a press report in Hong Kong, a former officer in the People’s Liberation Army of China has stated that there is an increasing chance of war between Japan and China. The report noted that there is a history of small incidents over territorial issues escalating into larger military conflicts. Can I ask for the thoughts of the Government with regard to such press reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting about individual press reports. However, during the postwar period Japan has moved forward by consistently maintaining its stance as a peaceful nation based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law. The Abe administration will continue to follow exactly such a path. I think that what you mentioned is totally unthinkable.



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