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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, January 21, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The abduction of Japanese nationals in Algeria

Earlier the sixth meeting of the Response Headquarters for the Abduction of Japanese Nationals in Algeria was held. As Prime Minister Abe stated during this meeting, I have to share with you today some very distressing news. The group led by Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Kiuchi that is currently in In Aménas visited a local hospital today to confirm the reported deaths of seven Japanese nationals. The group identified the bodies together with staff from JGC Corporation and as a result regretfully confirmed that those bodies were in fact Japanese employees of the company. The deceased employees had been working tirelessly and arduously at the front line of gas field development in Algeria, a place far from their homeland of Japan. I cannot begin to imagine how distressed they were to have been caught up in this terrorism and to ultimately have lost their precious lives. It was truly a massive loss for Japan and one of unspeakable sadness. On behalf of the Japanese Government I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims. No matter the reason, the use of violence can never be condoned, and the Japanese Government reiterates its firm condemnation of acts of terror. Since the beginning of this incident, the Japanese Government has made all possible efforts, including Prime Minister Abe's appeal to the Prime Minister of Algeria, with our greatest priority being ensuring the safety of the lives of those held captive. It is extremely regrettable that despite our efforts, the incident ended in this manner and precious lives were lost. The Government is planning to deploy government aircraft to Algeria as early as tomorrow evening to assist the return of the seven employees confirmed to be safe and the bodies of the seven Japanese nationals confirmed to have been deceased today. We will provide any necessary support, while duly considering the needs and situation of the affected families. The status of three more Japanese nationals remains unconfirmed. The Government will continue to deploy all means and gather information to make every effort to confirm the safety of those citizens

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