Thursday, July 5, 2012 (PM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
- The Russian navy's military exercises in the Sea of Okhotsk
- Press reports regarding the ROK's submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in order to extend the continental shelf in the East China Sea
- The report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission on the National Diet
- Ishigaki City Assembly members' landing on the Senkaku Islands
REPORTER: I have heard information that this weekend the Russian navy will be conducting military exercises in the Sea of Okhotsk. I would like to know if the Government has confirmed the scale of these exercises, and how this activity is being carried out - There are some opinions that this is an act of provocation against Japan. What do you think about that?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Just as is being reported, Russia is planning and carrying out exercises in the Far East region. A navigation warning has been issued for the Sea of Okhotsk and other areas stating the intention to do target practice. As you may know, an area has been marked off for this. It is difficult to say much for certain about the activities of the Russian naval vessels right now, but I think that those activities are related to the exercise or navigation warnings issued for the Sea of Okhotsk. That is our understating.
REPORTER: Do you take this to be an act of provocation against Japan?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: They undertook these exercises last year as well. On September 9 last year, it was confirmed visually that a fleet of 24 Russian vessels traveled east around the east coast of the Soya Strait. My understanding is that given the current situation, the scale of the exercise this time may be larger than that one.
REPORTER: My question relates to reporting from the Republic of Korea. It is being reported that the ROK Government will make a submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf of the United Nations (UN) within the month to have the continental shelf in the East China Sea extended. Has the Government confirmed this report to be true? And how do you take this information?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: My understanding at the moment is that the ROK Government has not issued any official notification on the matter or made any announcements about it. The relative distance between Japan and the ROK of the sea area of the East China Sea is less than 400 nautical miles, so the delimitation of boundaries should be determined and confirmed with Japan. As such, the Japanese Government is of the position that the ROK Government cannot extend the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. I think at the moment that this is still within the range of press reports that the ROK is planning to submit something to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
REPORTER: Among the reports, some state that this will include a portion of the Joint Development Zone (JDZ) delineated in the Japan-ROK Agreement on the Continental Shelf. How will the Government respond to this moving forward?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: We would submit documents containing the position that I talked about earlier to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. I have heard that the rules of procedure of that Commission stipulate that consideration cannot be made about submissions relating to maritime areas where there exist boundary issues without the consent of all relevant countries.
REPORTER: The report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission set up by the Diet has compiled and positioned the entire nuclear accident as a "manmade", not natural, disaster. The report contains fairly harsh content that places the burden of responsibility on the Prime Minister's Office, stating for instance that interference by the Prime Minister's Office disrupted the chain of command at the nuclear power station. I would like to ask you once again how you take this and whether or not this will mean reparations from the government for instance, or if there is the possibility of this having any other effect.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First of all, I would like to express my respect to the Commission for submitting its report. The Commission conducted many detailed hearings and so forth regardless of the really short time they had. I don't know if this will be announced later today, but this evening there will be explanatory meetings for Diet members, and briefings. I have heard this will take place at around 7:00 p.m. tonight. Beyond that, I have now actually just looked at seven recommendations from the report in a digest version. The final report of the Government's investigation and verification committee will be released at the end of this month. In terms of Government activity, (abridged) we will carefully take in the content of each report, and implement any necessary response. That is my comment at this moment in time.
REPORTER: It has been said that today members of the Ishigaki City Assembly [in Okinawa] landed on the Senkaku Islands. Please tell us whether the Government has confirmed the facts of this issue, and how you take the matter.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I understand this to be true. I have received a report that an appropriate response has been made locally in accordance with the law.