Thursday, June 7, 2012 (AM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
- The operations of Unit 2 of Mihama Nuclear Power Station
- Consideration on deploying Osprey aircraft of the U.S. forces to Okinawa
REPORTER: The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has released its inspection finding stating that it is proper to extend the operations of Unit 2 of Mihama Nuclear Power Station by a decade. Many are saying that NISA should have waited to form its conclusion until the new Regulatory Agency is launched. Can you share your opinion on this?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to explain this briefly so that you have an accurate understanding. Under existing law, nuclear operators must conduct an aging management technical evaluation by the 30th year after the start of operations, and conduct the evaluations every ten years after that. Based on those findings, a ten-year maintenance and management policy, which is called a long-term maintenance and management policy, shall be established. This policy must be established, regardless of whether or not a nuclear reactor is in operation. It is not a system intended to authorize the resumption of operations or the ten-year extension of operations. Unless a decommissioning plan is approved, nuclear operators are obligated to compile this policy. Therefore, if nuclear operators hold off on this judgment, it would constitute a legal violation. Thus, NISA is carrying out this kind of procedure. Your question was about yesterday's hearing. As it is necessary to deliberate on the inspection findings of NISA and conduct additional confirmation of the technical items pointed out by experts, I understand it was decided that deliberations will still be continued.
REPORTER: Regarding the deployment of Osprey aircraft of the United States (U.S.) forces, according to some news reports, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is considering seeking the Governor of Okinawa's understanding on this when the Prime Minister goes to Okinawa for the memorial ceremony to commemorate the war dead on June 23. In view of the timing, I believe this will spark significant protests. Can you verify the facts and also tell us if this is actually being considered?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe this news report is truly terrible. While I am aware that there are such news reports, they are completely groundless. The (Prime Minister's ) visit to Okinawa on June 23 is being considered at this moment. This is a day to commemorate the war dead in Okinawa. On such an occasion, we have absolutely no plans to make a request and so on regarding individual, specific items pertaining to the realignment of the U.S. forces.