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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, September 29, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the extraordinary Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved a general measure, the draft policy speech by Prime Minister Abe to the 187th Session of the Diet, as well as draft bills.

On September 27, Mt. Ontake erupted, killing and injuring many people. I would like to express my condolences for the lives lost, as well as extend my heartfelt sympathy to everyone who is affected. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Mt. Ontake has continued to release fumes since the eruption, and eruptions of the same scale could occur again, accompanied by pyroclastic flows. For this reason, we need to continue to exercise caution around the crater due to the falling of large quantities of volcanic cinders and pyroclastic flows, as well as exercise care on the leeward side for volcanic ash and smaller quantities of volcanic cinders. With regard to information on the affected people at this time, 4 deaths and 27 people in a state of cardiac arrest have been confirmed. In addition, there are 40 injured and others with whom contact still cannot be made. At the scene, from the early morning of the 28th, the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), fire department, police, and other relevant organizations coordinated and worked hard to save lives and rescue people. As a result, 26 people were rescued by helicopter. Through the rescue and evacuation operation, it has been confirmed that around 420 people descended the mountain, and all survivors who stayed behind in mountain cabins and elsewhere descended the mountain. Early this morning, a team of 1,160 people comprised of SDF, fire department, and police personnel commenced search and rescue operations. With regard to the Government’s response, the Liaison Office at the Prime Minister’s Office was elevated to the Response Office at the Prime Minister’s Office at 2 pm yesterday, the 28th. Furthermore, the emergency disaster response headquarters and the local response headquarters were established. The Government is doing everything it can to deal with the situation. Additionally, also on the 28th, a government investigation team led by State Minister of Cabinet Office Nishimura was dispatched to the disaster area. The Government will continue to make strong collective efforts to respond to this emergency disaster, with the search, lifesaving, and rescue of the people as our number one priority, in close coordination with local municipalities.


  • The Japan-North Korea Government-level consultations


REPORTER: The Japan-North Korea Government-level consultations will be starting shortly. Can you once again tell us what the Japanese Government’s position is going into the talks today?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated repeatedly, in mid-September, North Korea explained to us that as of now it was unable to provide explanations beyond the early-stage results of the investigations. In response, Japan urged North Korea to conduct the investigations swiftly and in good faith, giving foremost priority to the abduction issue, and to promptly provide the results. It was therefore decided that a meeting among our diplomatic authorities would be held in Shenyang today. Japan will be fully asserting the points I stated before.


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