Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary
Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA:
Also, I would like to make an announcement regarding the start of this summer's energy-saving period. In accordance with this summer's electricity supply-demand measures which were decided at the joint meeting of the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting and the Energy and Environment Council on May 18, as July starts on Sunday, the energy-saving period will commence for all of Japan, except for Okinawa, from Monday of next week. While we apologize to electricity users for the repeated energy-saving requests and for any inconvenience this may cause, compared to the previous year we ask Kansai to save electricity by more than 15%, Kyushu by more than 10%, Hokkaido and Shikoku by more than 7%, and Chubu, Hokuriku, and Chugoku by more than 5%. In Tokyo and Tohoku, although no numerical targets are set in particular, we would like to ask for their cooperation in saving energy. Now, currently, work is under way for restarting Oi Nuclear Power Station of Kansai Electric Power Company. However, as delays in this work are also possible, we will stick with our energy-saving targets effective from next Monday, until we know for sure that the Unit 3 reactor will be restarted. The Government will make efforts to support the energy-saving initiatives of all electricity users, including the presentation of an easy-to-understand energy-saving menu, the holding of events such as briefings across the country, and disclosure of thorough supply-demand information through electricity forecasts and other means. Also, by working together will the local governments, electric power companies, and other stakeholders, we will make every effort to implement timely and appropriate as well as detailed measures in order to ensure that there is supply-demand balance.
I have one more announcement. A Ministerial Meeting on the Advancement of Disaster Waste Management was held before the Cabinet meeting. First, the Minister of the Environment briefed the meeting on the progress of the disaster waste disposal, including the wide-area disposal. Specifically, he reported that as of June 22, disposal of up to approximately 3.29 million tons or 17.5% of the total has been completed. Also, since the previous meeting held on April 17, nine full-fledged disposal programs were newly started in one metropolis and six prefectures. In addition, one metropolis and five prefectures, which are Akita Prefecture, Gunma Prefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, Shizuoka Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture, and Fukuoka Prefecture, newly announced the implementation of six full-fledged disposal programs. Through these initiatives, in addition to the municipalities which already carry out the disposal, if the municipalities which are now making arrangements to do so do in fact accept disaster waste, this will mean that conclusion is in sight for the wide-area disposal of combustible waste and wood debris of Iwate Prefecture. Progress will also be made with respect to the disaster waste of Miyagi Prefecture, with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government making steady acceptances and Kitakyushu City's announcement of full-scale acceptance. Next, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister for Reconstruction, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reported, respectively, on the initiatives for promoting the reuse of disaster waste. Based on these reports, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda lastly stated the Government's guidelines moving forward, which are mainly the following three items:
These were the three items. The Government will continue to make concerted efforts to move the initiatives forward without stopping the process toward the recovery and reconstruction of the disaster-afflicted areas.
REPORTER: I would like to ask a question about energy-saving. You said that the Government will stick to the current targets until it is certain that operations of Oi Nuclear Power Station will be restarted. What does the Government presently envision as the stage when this will become certain?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Right now, work is under way to restart the Unit 3 reactor of Oi Nuclear Power Station, and this work is currently proceeding steadily. However, it is still conceivable that delays may occur in the future, and therefore, it cannot be determined that the Unit 3 reactor will be restarted. Thus, in the meantime, we will still stick with the energy-saving targets. At the point when the restarting of operations becomes certain, I believe we will once again be presenting our targets.
REPORTER: I believe there are several possible stages, for example, the stage when the reactor starts generating power or the stage when the reactor achieves full-scale operations. Is there a stage that the Government already has in mind?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I understand there is some length of time between restarting operations and achieving full-scale operations. We will consider these holistically.