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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

August 10, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the statement by Prime Minister Abe on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. On Friday last week, the Prime Minister explained his basic concept for the statement to Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Sadakazu Tanigaki and Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi of New Komeito. Is the basic policy in these concepts the one that the Abe Cabinet will uphold the position on the recognition of history outlined by the previous administrations in its entirety?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister himself has spoken about his basic concepts for the statement. However, I believe that the Prime Minister will continue to adjust the draft of the statement leading up to its release on August 14, so I would like to refrain from commenting about its contents.


REPORTER: On a related note, the Prime Minister’s statement is attracting considerable international attention, particularly in China and the Republic of Korea (ROK). When the Government deliberates the contents of the statement, will consideration be given to the way it will be received by other countries, including China and the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that following the process through which a panel of experts discussed various issues and compiled a report, the Prime Minister will refer to this report and ultimately make his own judgement on the statement that is to be released.


REPORTER: Tomorrow, operations will be restarted at the Sendai Nuclear Power Station. I ask again for the purposes of confirmation, but where and by whom was the decision made to restart operations at the power station tomorrow?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have probably mentioned this point previously, but the Government considers that the final responsibility for restarting operations lies with the operator. The Government also considers it to be important in terms of energy policy to proceed with the restarting of operations at nuclear power stations that have been confirmed to be safe. In the Strategic Energy Plan, which was approved last year by the Cabinet, the Government has determined to proceed with the restarting of operations at nuclear power stations where safety has been confirmed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

REPORTER: I have a further related question. Looking at the case of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, it is a fact that if an accident occurs, the operator would be unable to completely bear responsibility. What is more, the NRA has admitted that there is not a 100 percent guarantee that an accident will not occur. Given this situation, what are your thoughts about the point that if the Government is going to advance nuclear energy policy, then it should bear the responsibility for making a final decision on whether to restart operations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: To repeat what I just stated, the decision on whether or not to restart operations rests with the operator. However, this decision by operators is itself based on a decision by the Government to proceed with the restarting of operations at the nuclear power stations which have been confirmed by the NRA to be safe, in accordance with standards decided by the Government. It is stipulated in the Act on Special Measures Concerning Nuclear Emergency Preparedness that in the event an accident occurs, the Government will take the lead in implementing a swift response to a nuclear disaster and provide assistance to the people affected.


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