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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 30, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The hostage incident of Japanese nationals in Syria

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the taking of Japanese hostages by the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). As regards the Japanese Government’s efforts to realize the swift release of Mr. Goto, will your efforts be focused on coordinating with the Jordanian Government? Do you perceive that the Japanese Government has been able to coordinate with the Jordanian Government even now?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Ever since this incident first occurred, under extremely severe circumstances, Japan has made its strongest efforts to realize the swift release of Mr. Goto while working closely with relevant countries, including the Jordanian Government. Our policy has not changed whatsoever.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Has any progress been made on the Japanese Government’s coordination with the Jordanian Government towards the release of Mr. Goto?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from answering your question due to the nature of the matter. Japan and Jordan are working together and remaining in extremely close contact with each other, building upon the trust between our two countries.


REPORTER: Initially, ISIL set a 72-hour deadline. That deadline passed, and since then, another whole week has passed. Without a doubt, I think we are seeing a prolongation of the situation. Does the Prime Minister’s Office or the Government have any plans to modify its arrangements?    

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: ISIL has continued to make unilateral demands one after the other, such as the imposition of this 72-hour deadline. Within this context, our basic view is first and foremost to realize the release of the Japanese national, and to not forgive acts of terrorism. Based on these principles we continue to do everything we can to realize the release of Mr. Goto by any possible means, taking steady steps one by one in a calm manner.

REPORTER: Are you saying that you will continue to exert maximum efforts to deal with the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, of course. Through the existing mechanisms, we will steadily take all possible measures, one by one, while exchanging and collecting information.  

REPORTER: There have been no new developments since last night’s press conference given by Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications. Does the Japanese Government perceive that the situation remains in a stalemate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Due to the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from answering such questions.

REPORTER: It is now the morning of the 30th in Jordan. Have you received any contact or information from Jordan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally, we are dealing with the situation while remaining in contact and in coordination with the relevant parties.

REPORTER: Have you received any new information regarding the safety of Mr. Goto or the Jordanian pilot?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Due to the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from answering your question. We are taking the necessary measures in a thorough and steady manner while collecting information. That is the situation.

REPORTER: I have one more question. I would like to ask about cooperation between Japan and Turkey. A short while ago, you stated that Japan is dealing with the situation in cooperation with relevant countries. In particular, what is the Government’s recognition of the cooperation between Japan and Turkey, a country that neighbors the area under ISIL’s control and has had success negotiating with ISIL for the release of hostages in the past? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated consistently since the incident first occurred, Japan has requested the cooperation of relevant countries, including Jordan. At the start of this incident, the Prime Minister had a telephone talk with the President of Turkey and requested his cooperation. It is true that in this process, Turkey graciously expressed understanding, and since the incident occurred we have readied ourselves in response to the situation.

REPORTER: My question concerns the Prime Minister’s statement for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. This morning, Secretary General Inoue of New Komeito stated that there would of course be opportunities for the Government to consult the ruling parties. What are the Government’s ideas with regard to how to carry out consultations with the ruling parties? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are questions about the statement every day, but first of all I would like to explain that it is clear that the statement will communicate Japan’s remorse regarding WWII, the path Japan has taken as a peace-loving nation following WWII, and how Japan will contribute to peace in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. This will form the basis of the statement. The Government will review these items while listening to the opinions of intellectuals who are now being selected. In issuing the statement, we consider it important to obtain the understanding of the ruling parties.

REPORTER: Some consider that in conducting these recent acts, ISIL is seeking to gain recognition among the international community and enlarge its organization by soliciting sympathizers; in other words the acts are designed for publicity purposes. In that sense, if, separate from the news reports regarding the incident, there is excessive broadcasting of videos about ISIL, then there is a danger that as a result we would be playing right into ISIL’s hands. What is your opinion in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In Japan we respect the freedom of the press. Furthermore, these acts are despicable acts of terrorism and terrorism is very much the enemy of humanity. As such, I believe the various news organizations will naturally report on these incidents based on their respective perspectives. 

REPORTER: With respect to the series of messages from ISIL, some also opine that the messages have been sent out in an extremely strategic manner based on the media coverage, including in Japan. For example, in the video circulated on the Internet on the 29th, which shows interviews with residents in the area under ISIL’s control, an interviewee made a comment regarding the United States’ dropping of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The messages demonstrate familiarity with Japan. While this may be slightly lower on your list of priorities, how does the Government intend to address the potential existence of hidden ISIL members in Japan or the possible provision of information to ISIL by people in Japan?       

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, with regard to the activities of Japanese and overseas terrorist organizations, we are making our strongest efforts to collect information on a daily basis for the prevention of terrorism. We are taking steady responses while collecting a variety of information. Under this framework, as of now, no information regarding terrorist activities in Japan has come to our attention. 


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