Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary
Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:
REPORTER: With deliberations on the Nuclear Regulatory Agency legislation starting today, I would like to ask once again about the counterproposal of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito. In particular, what is your view on the section of the proposal concerning the Article 3 committee (a committee which is established pursuant to Article 3 of the National Government Organization Act)? In other words, what is your intention with regard to accepting the proposal, making revisions and so on?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Deliberations at the plenary session of the House of Representatives will start from today. Regarding your question on the proposal of the two parties, the LDP and New Komeito, I believe there are slight differences between this proposal and the Government's with regard to the Article 3 committee, which you noted a moment ago, as well as other aspects, including emergency measures. I believe we both share the view that a new nuclear regulatory body must be set up quickly. Accordingly, while the Government submitted to the Diet the Government proposal which it thinks is best, naturally it is anticipated that revisions may be made in the course of holding constructive discussions at the Diet. In order to be able to install the organization and system as quickly as possible, the Government would like efforts to be made, and the Government will likewise make efforts.
REPORTER: According to a study by Stanford University in the United States, cesium was detected from tuna caught in California. The study suggests that this is cesium that was released as a result of the TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident. If this is true, this study provides supporting evidence that radioactive materials were dispersed across a wide area, reaching all the way to the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Can you discuss the thoughts of the Japanese Government?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The issue of debris which flowed out to the ocean - while that is a completely different issue, there was also that issue. And this time, I believe it is reported that small amounts of cesium were detected in tuna off the coast of southern California. With regard to fisheries products in Japan, the Fisheries Agency is conducting monitoring in coordination with local governments, including Fukushima Prefecture, and fisheries cooperative associations. This fiscal year, it is expected that monitoring will also be conducted taking into account studies on the migration of radioactive materials from the ocean water and ocean soil to fisheries products and on the condensation of radioactive materials. While I am not yet aware of the specific details of this latest study on migrating tunas off the coast of southern California, I suspect that the issue of international monitoring of fisheries products may come up. The Government will strive to first collect information and consider how it will deal with this going forward. That is my outlook at this point in time.
REPORTER: The hearing of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the Diet's (Fukushima Nuclear Accident) Independent Investigation Commission concluded yesterday. In the course of the post-accident verification, a series of facts have come to light, such as the fact that it was taking some time for information to be reported to the Prime Minister's Office and the challenges surrounding the ways of disseminating this information. At this present stage, what improvements have been made by the Prime Minister's Office in terms of the structures to be made in the event of an accident?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Broadly speaking, with respect to our response to an emergency situation, I believe structures and so on in which the entire Government can exert efforts as a whole are necessary and important. Up to now as well, every time the Government responded to an emergency situation, including the nuclear power accident, the Government verified and constantly reviewed its response mechanisms. The Government has strived to develop systems or structures to cope with a variety of emergency situations. While your question is about recent events, with regard to crisis management in response to nuclear accidents, the Government, the Diet, and furthermore, the private sector are all now conducting studies and verifications of the cause of the accident and so on. The Government will take seriously the findings of these studies and reviews and take all possible measures to prevent the recurrence of nuclear accidents and the spread of damage. Last month as well, while we are still in the middle of the studies and verifications, improvements concerning nuclear disaster prevention and other information were, I believe, posted on the website in April. And so indeed, we have been compiling our ideas successively at various times, respectively. Ultimately, I believe a final review must also be conducted bearing in mind these range of studies.