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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 22, 2016 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At around 5:59 AM today, an earthquake measuring a lower 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture. A tsunami warning had been issued for Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures, and a tsunami advisory had been issued for the Pacific coast stretching from Aomori Prefecture to the Izu Islands. A short while ago, the tsunami warning n Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures was lifted. At this time, a tsunami advisory is issued from Iwate to Ibaraki Prefectures. As of now, a 1.4 m tsunami has been observed at Sendai port. In addition, tsunamis have been observed along the area stretching from Iwate Prefecture to the Izu Islands. Please continue to evacuate to a safe place if you are in the areas for which a tsunami advisory is issued. Furthermore, we have been briefed that the cooling system for the spent fuel pool at Unit 3 of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station that had stopped has already returned to service. As of now, we have been briefed that two people were injured in Fukushima Prefecture. The Government will continue to work to ascertain the level of the damages and make maximum efforts towards emergency disaster response in close coordination with the local governments. Please continue to evacuate to a safe place if you are in the areas for which a tsunami advisory is issued. Please pay attention to information communicated by local governments and others regarding evacuation, as well as TV, radio, and other information. Please help each other and behave calmly. 



REPORTER: You stated that the cooling system for the spent fuel pool at Unit 3 of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station returned to service. Can you once again share your views regarding the risks associated with nuclear power stations in the event of a natural disaster?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, while the cause is still being investigated, Tokyo Electric Power Company briefed us that the pool’s water surface shook due to the earthquake, and because a decline in the water level was detected, the system was automatically shut down. This was the report we received. With regard to the safety of nuclear power stations against earthquakes, the Nuclear Regulation Authority applies new regulatory requirements in Japan that are the most rigorous in the world. It anticipates the largest earthquake that could occur at the site of the nuclear power station, and carries out individual screenings to check whether safety is ensured against such an earthquake. These new requirements are also used to anticipate other natural disasters such as tsunami. In any case, the Government will continue to take thorough responses with safety of the nuclear power stations as our top priority.     
REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). President-elect Trump of the United States released a video address on the Internet. In his address, President-elect Trump announced that he would notify his intent to withdraw from the TPP on the day he is inaugurated into office in January of next year. He stated that he would negotiate bilateral trade agreements instead. The President-elect, following his election, once again vowed to execute his campaign pledge. What is the comment of the Japanese Government which attaches importance to the TPP?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, President-elect Trump has still not taken office, and the Government would like to refrain from commenting on each remark made by the President-elect. In addition, we perceive that the Government should not speculate and respond to questions regarding policies following President-elect Trump’s inauguration as President. Having said so, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting was held. At the TPP leaders’ meeting that took place on its margins, the United States commented that it would continue to make efforts to gain domestic understanding regarding the importance of the TPP. Through remarks made by the respective countries, at this meeting they confirmed the economic and strategic importance of the TPP Agreement and that the countries would proceed with their respective domestic procedures. Given the reality that the United States is in this period of administrational change, it is precisely Japan that must lead the efforts towards the early entry into force of the agreement. Based on this view, Japan will continue to take various opportunities to urge the swift completion of domestic procedures by the United States and other signatories. The Government will engage in the deliberations at the House of Councillors with a sense of vigilance to swiftly proceed with the Diet deliberations.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Prime Minister Abe stated in his press conference earlier that a TPP without the United States would be meaningless. However, in light of the U.S. situation, some signatories have stated that the countries should consider enforcing the TPP without the United States on board. Is a TPP without the United States inconceivable in the mind of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the Prime Minister stated moments ago, at the TPP leaders’ meeting, the discussion never turned to the view of aiming to enforce the TPP without the United States. Furthermore, the Prime Minister stated at his press conference that a TPP without the United States would be meaningless, and that a renegotiation is impossible, and similarly, the balance of fundamental interests would collapse. It is as the Prime Minister stated. 

REPORTER: You stated that since the administration will be inaugurated next January, the Government would take responses free of assumption. Do you believe there is still plenty of hope that Mr. Trump will change his intention if Japan makes a case that the TPP has significant benefits also for the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are talking about the future now. At this point in time, the current administration is still in place, and the respective TPP countries confirmed that they would implement their respective domestic procedures based on the importance of the TPP Agreement. Therefore, Japan will watch over this process.


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