Thursday, July 5, 2012 (AM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
- The resumption of power transmission from Oi Nuclear Power Station
- The Northern Territories issue (interaction at the recent summit meeting)
REPORTER: This morning, power transmission from Oi Nuclear Power Station in Fukui Prefecture was resumed. Could you give us the Government's reaction to this resumption of power transmission, including the current status of operations at the power station?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It is the case that yesterday, July 4, the adjustment of the turbines was completed, following which, at 7:00am this morning power transmission was restarted. The current status at the Unit 3 reactor is that output is being gradually increased, and by July 9 at the earliest thermal output is expected to reach 100 percent. Work is currently progressing towards the scheduled date of July 9 for full operations. With regard to the Unit 4 reactor, work is similarly underway towards the resumption of operations by July 18 at the earliest.
REPORTER: What is the reaction and the recognition of the Government with regard to the on-schedule resumption of power transmission?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Government recognizes that procedures and operations have been advanced as scheduled and that the special monitoring system is functioning properly.
REPORTER: Now that a scheduled date for full power output has been set, what are the thoughts of the Government concerning the impact on power supply and demand during the summer months when power saving measures are in place?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: At the joint meeting of the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting and the Energy and Environment Council Meeting held on June 22, it was announced that at the stage when the restart of Oi Nuclear Power Station Unit 3 reactors was confirmed, or in other words when power transmission was resumed and that constant rated thermal power operations were restored in full, the power saving targets for the service area of Kansai Electric Power Company would be revised and announced. Given that decision made in the joint meeting, I believe that approximately next week, when the resumption of power transmission at Oi Nuclear Power Station has been fully restored, I will be able to make an announcement concerning the revision to the power saving targets. I believe that the revised target will be somewhere around a 10 percent reduction.
REPORTER: Leading up to the restarting of operations, there was some degree of trouble, including the sounding of warning sirens. The Government has installed a special monitoring system at the power station, but I believe that the public remain concerned about safety aspects. What is the Government's understanding with regard to safety measures that are in place?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I have mentioned on frequent occasions and as the Prime Minister has also stated in press conferences held in this room, the safety confirmation has not been made based on a political judgment, but rather it is based on the work and investigations of various expert committees implemented from last year, which have made technical and professional judgements on safety. The decision to restart operations on this occasion was also made based on the results of assessment of power supply and demand prospect. The special monitoring system has been put in place for future operations as well, and the Government seeks to make every effort to ensure that this system functions well.
REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Northern Territories. There have been a number of press reports that at the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting held in June the Prime Minister agreed with President Putin that he would make a visit to Russia before the end of the year. What are the facts behind these reports, and could you also tell us whether the Prime Minister intends to make a visit to Russia, separately from his attendance at the APEC Russia 2012 Summit to be held in Vladivostok in September?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to refrain from going into the details of the discussions that took place at the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting, but with regard to the visit of Prime Minister Noda to Russia, it was the case that President Putin expressed his hope that a visit would be realized in the near future and that arrangements would be made with regard to specific timing. That was the gist of the discussions on this matter. There was no specific talk of dates for a visit, which remain undecided, but just that arrangements and coordination would be made.
REPORTER: On a related note, it has also been reported in the press that there were no particular statements in the meeting concerning the "reactivation" of negotiations on the issue of the Northern Territories. Could you tell us whether the word "reactivation" was not actually used, and if this was the case, whether the Government recognizes that a subsequent explanation was given that was different from the actual facts?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First of all, with regard to the word "reactivation," this was something I was asked about in the press conference yesterday, and as a result of investigation I have found that it was not actually used. It was actually the case that Prime Minister Noda proposed in the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting that orders be given to "begin" to advance negotiations at the working level, or the ministerial level. President Putin agreed to advance the process of negotiations on a peace treaty between Japan and Russia. During the course of the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting the word "reactivation" was not actually used. However, it has been confirmed that both sides agreed to press ahead with substantive negotiations in view of the interaction on this issue at the leader level at the summit meeting and also subsequent actual interactions between Japan and Russia. Thus, it was the case that at the press briefing following the summit meeting the word "reactivation" was used to explain this process as a whole.
REPORTER: Returning to the issue of the word "reactivation" at the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting, I am afraid that I did not really grasp the reason why this word, which was not used in the summit meeting itself, was then used in the press briefing afterwards. Do you consider that there was no particular problem in using the word "reactivation?"
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes, the ultimate conclusion is as you describe it. Although the word "reactivation" was not used in discussions in the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting, it has been confirmed that both sides agreed to press ahead afresh with substantive negotiations, in view of the interaction on this issue at the leader level at the summit meeting and also subsequent actual interactions between Japan and Russia. At the press briefing following the summit meeting, the word "reactivation" was used to explain this process as a whole. Accordingly, it is absolutely not the case that the word "reactivation" diverges from the actual content of the meeting and there is no substantial meaning in concentrating unduly on whether or not it was actually used.