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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, November 11, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • Japan's Assistance for Typhoon damage in the central part of Philippines (Update)

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to read out the following: In relation to Japan's response to the typhoon in the Philippines, I announced during this morning's press conference the dispatch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a JICA assessment team. I will now provide you with an update of their progress.

We decided to dispatch an emergency medical team of 25 personnel, which left Japan at 3 pm today. The team consists of doctors and nurses specializing in emergency medical care, and staff from JICA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are hoping that they will arrive in the affected areas as soon as they can; tomorrow if possible. As for the dispatch of the Self-Defense Force (SDF), given the extent of the disaster, the Government is currently making arrangements so that we can swiftly dispatch the SDF to assist with the provision of medical care if the Philippine Government makes such a request. In response to requests of the Philippine Government, the Japanese Government will provide as much assistance as possible while coordinating with other countries concerned, including the U.S.


  • The issue related to Japan's response to the disaster caused by the typhoon in the Philippines
  • The recommendation concerning the reconstruction of Fukushima

REPORTER: I understand that you met with the Chief of Joint Staff and the Director of Operations Department of the SDF earlier today. Did you provide them with any instructions in relation to the dispatch of the SDF?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: During our meeting, we were making arrangements so that should the Philippine Government request the dispatch of the SDF, we are able to swiftly do so. They reported to me the state of our preparations.

REPORTER: Have there been any updates on the extent of damage caused by the typhoon?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The current official assessment of damage is, as I said earlier, as per today's (November 11) 6 am announcement by the Philippine Government. As for the current situation in the affected areas, we do not have any further information that is ready to be announced. However, we anticipate that the death toll will be significantly higher than that announced by the Government. Therefore, Japan will dispatch the SDF upon request and support recovery efforts to our fullest capacity.

REPORTER: Am I right to understand that there are still uncontactable Japanese citizens in the Philippines?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, that is correct. Approximately 110 Japanese citizens are living on Leyte Island, which was the hardest hit region, while another 20 people live on Samar Island. However, I have been informed that the communications network is down and we therefore have had no means of communication until now.

REPORTER: In relation to the SDF, am I right to understand that the size or timing of the dispatch team has yet to be determined?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have not yet gotten that far. However, we believe that we must stay ready to enable the swift dispatch of the SDF if the Philippine Government makes such a request during the discussion with them in the Philippines.

REPORTER: In relation to the dispatch of the SDF, you earlier spoke about providing medical care assistance. Does that mean that the focus will be placed on medical care?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally, I think the focus will be on medical care and rescue efforts.


REPORTER: After this morning's press conference, the ruling parties submitted a recommendation concerning the reconstruction of Fukushima to the Prime Minister and yourself. I understand that the recommendations speak to the national Government's proactive involvement in recovery after the accident at the nuclear power station. How does the Government intend to implement these recommendations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the ruling parties continued their intensive discussions right up until they submitted the recommendations to the Prime Minister today. Six people, including Chairman Oshima and Secretary General of New Komeito Party Inoue, came to see us. The recommendations included initiatives that the Government should implement, such as promoting the early return of those affected to their hometowns and providing information that allows those affected to make a decision on beginning a new life. I understand that the recommendation stated that the Government must strive even more than before to meet the needs of those affected.

We sincerely accept the recommendations, and the Government and ruling parties will work as one to accelerate the reconstruction and recovery of the affected areas in line with the Prime Minister's instructions.


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