Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary
REPORTER: Slightly changing the subject, yesterday, the mayor of Tokaimura requested Minister Hosono to decommission the Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Station on the grounds that many people live within the surrounding area and the nuclear power station is aging. Such a request is unusual. Can you tell us your thoughts?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I heard from Mr. Hosono yesterday that the mayor of Tokaimura made such a request to Minister Hosono. Currently, in Tokaimura, just one reactor is undergoing a regular checkup and is shut down, and I think the mayor made his statement in relation to the issue of restarting such nuclear power stations. With regard to the restarting of operations, ultimately a political decision will be made based on the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's (NISA) assessment of the stress test carried out by the power station operator and the Nuclear Safety Commission's (NSC) confirmation of its validity, and as I always say, based on the attainment of the understanding of the community and the trust of the people. Ensuring safety and forging relations of trust with the community members are a major premise. For the local municipality, the Government will be out front in carefully explaining measures such as the safety measures, among other matters. Through following this sort of procedure, I believe a decision will be made. Thus, I believe the request was accepted as a request.
REPORTER: If I may ask again about the Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Station. The request was made against the backdrop that more than 30 years have passed since the power station started operations. I would like to ask once again what the current views of the Government are with regard to dealing with the aging of nuclear reactors.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe the reactor in Tokaimura, capable of producing 1.1 million kW of electricity, started operations in 1978. The Government's view is that, as Prime Minister Noda has been saying all throughout, if a nuclear power station passes its lifespan, a new nuclear power station will not be built. Therefore, naturally I believe reactors will disappear after 40 years or 50 years - the lifespan may be different depending on the reactor.
REPORTER: In response to the earlier question about nuclear power stations, you said at the end something to the effect that while it depends on the respective reactors, naturally you believe that the reactors will be gone. When you say naturally they will be gone, are you indicating that in the future nuclear power stations will be gone from Japan?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Energy and Environment Council is yet to establish a long-term energy policy for the future, which is expected to be decided by August of next year. Therefore, while reactors which have been in operation for 50 or so years will be eliminated, I was not concluding that nuclear power stations will disappear from the Japanese society.