Wednesday, August 22, 2012 (PM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
- The Senkaku Islands (the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's request for permission to land on the islands)
- The Takeshima issue
- The Prime Minister's meeting with anti-nuclear organizations
REPORTER: I believe the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) requested for permission to land on the Senkaku Islands. Can you confirm the facts and explain how the Government will handle this request?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This afternoon, TMG submitted once again a request to land on the islands, and we officially received the request. I believe your question is about what our decision will be in response to the written request. We will now be reviewing the request, bearing in mind, among other factors, the Government's purpose of leasing the Senkaku Islands, which is to peacefully and stably maintain and manage the islands. Out of consideration for TMG, I will not go into the details of the contents of the written request.
REPORTER: Does the written request state the date and time of the landing as well as the number of people who would be landing - the information that was lacking in the previous written request?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I understand that the date and time, the purpose, the members and so on are all stated.
REPORTER: What is the date and time (of the landing) exactly?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: TMG stated toward the end of August. I do not have the liberty to state the contents of the document.
REPORTER: On a related matter, I believe some news reports indicated that a consent form from the landowner or the like would be attached to the written request. Was any such form attached?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am told that a consent form from the landowner has not been submitted.
REPORTER: Has the Government at all confirmed the wishes of the landowner?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Government's decision-making process will no doubt involve a holistic consideration of a range of factors, including the wishes of the landowner.
REPORTER: You have repeatedly stated your recognition that the Senkaku Islands are no doubt a territory of Japan. However, there is also the reality that should the Government permit TMG to land on the islands, this would become a provocative action against China, according to opinions. Will such external or diplomatic considerations be part of the materials the Government will be reviewing to decide whether it will give TMG permission to land on the islands?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I have always stated, a decision will be made based on the Government's overall purpose of leasing the Senkaku Islands, which is to peacefully and stably maintain and manage the islands. While you just referred to something specific, the bottom line is that the Government will make a decision which will contribute to realizing the overall purpose of peacefully and stably maintaining and managing the islands.
REPORTER: If I may ask a question concerning Takeshima. In response to questions asked at today's meeting of the Committee on Audit (of the House of Councillors) at the Diet, Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba referred to the Republic of Korea's (ROK) effective control over Takeshima using the words "illegal occupation" - a term which had not been used by past Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administrations. What was the meaning or intention behind the use of this expression?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe we have been using an expression to the effect of "occupation with no legal basis." Whether this expression or the expression "illegal occupation" is utilized, this does not change the Japanese Government's legal assessment of the Takeshima situation. Nevertheless, I have not yet taken a close look to see whether this expression was included in the statement made by Minister Gemba at the Committee meeting. You stated that based on the policy decision of the Noda administration, the expression used today was different from the expressions used by past administrations. I believe in view of ROK President Lee Myung-bak's landing on Takeshima, Minister Gemba chose today to use an expression which inferred that the ROK illegally occupies Takeshima.
REPORTER: While, today, Foreign Minister Gemba responded in this way, will this expression be utilized in the Government's future responses to questions asked at the Diet? Is my understanding correct that this expression represents the official view of the Japanese Government?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Actually, the expression (while it may be worded differently) makes the same legal assessment as before.
REPORTER: My question concerns the talks held earlier between anti-nuclear organizations and the Prime Minister. It seemed that time was limited in terms of being able to conduct extensive exchanges. Are there plans to hold such talks again in the future?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, I understand that in having an opportunity to meet with the organizations, the Government carefully explained its views. Also, I believe there were quite a large number of organizations participating. Each organization, I think, submitted documents and articulated its opinions. I believe this is the end of the discussions with the organizations of this single alliance.
REPORTER: Related to this, with regard to the energy policy, the Government to date presented three options for the nuclear power ratio in 2030. After hearing the opinions of the anti-nuclear organizations or the business community, do you intend to review the 2030 timing or the percentages identified in the three options or to think about other options?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Although three options were presented for the national debates, this was not meant to mean that only three options existed. As there are a variety of views regarding this issue, key materials are being collected gradually for the Government to make a responsible decision on Japan's future energy policy, while making a holistic evaluation both qualitatively and quantitatively through the national debates, the presentation made today by professors who carried out and managed the deliberative poll (DP), and future meetings among experts to analyze and verify the findings.