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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The first meeting of the Industrial Competitiveness Council
  • The current status on the abduction of Japanese nationals in Algeria

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today the first meeting of the Industrial Competitiveness Council was held. Diet members provided various opinions and insights on the way forward for growth strategy and the strengthening of industrial competitiveness. This Council will continue to engage in discussions on crystallizing and promoting a growth strategy for Japan. I believe that Minister in Charge of Economic Revitalization Amari has given a press conference concerning the Council. For further information please direct your questions to the relevant authority.

Next I would like to provide information on the current status regarding the incident in Algeria, in which Japanese nationals were taken hostage. Yesterday, at 10:00 pm, the bodies of the seven Japanese nationals whose deaths have been confirmed were transferred to Algiers, the capital of Algeria, and reconfirmation of the identities of the seven deceased Japanese nationals was completed. Currently immigration and border procedures required by the Algerian government are being implemented, and the Government is making efforts to ensure the return to Japan of the survivors and the deceased at the earliest possible time on the Government plane. In parallel to these activities, we are continuing our efforts to confirm the safety of the three Japanese nationals who remain unaccounted for.

Today, January 23, from midnight, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Kiuchi held a meeting with the Minister of Interior and Local Governments of Algeria. In the meeting Parliamentary Secretary Kiuchi issued a strong request for cooperation from the Algerian government concerning the confirmation of the safety of the remaining three Japanese nationals who are unaccounted for, procedures to repatriate the seven Japanese nationals who survived the incident and the bodies of the seven who perished, as well as the full details of the incident, particularly concerning the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the Japanese nationals who lost their lives. The Algerian Minister of Interior and Local Governments responded that the Algerian government will provide all cooperation possible. In addition, Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Shunichi Suzuki is scheduled to arrive in Algiers today at 4:20 pm (8:20 am local time) as a special envoy of the Prime Minister. Upon arrival he is scheduled to have a meeting with Prime Minister Sellal of Algeria, from 10:30 pm (2:30 pm local time). The Government will continue to utilize all possible means to confirm the safety of the three Japanese nationals who remain unaccounted for at the earliest possible time. However, as there is a possibility that these confirmation efforts will take some time, the Government is also proceeding with measures to repatriate all Japanese nationals as soon as possible.


  • The adoption of a resolution by the U.N. Security Council on the launch of the missile by North Korea, which it calls a "satellite"
  • Japan-ROK relations


REPORTER: The Security Council of the United Nations has adopted a resolution that includes strengthened sanctions against North Korea, in response to the test-firing of what was in reality a ballistic missile. In the past North Korea has stated that if sanctions are strengthened it will implement a nuclear test. What response is the Government considering in such an event?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Security Council resolution strongly condemns North Korea and also approves measures to strengthen sanctions. Furthermore, this resolution was adopted unanimously by the Security Council and accordingly it is to be highly evaluated and is a resolution that is welcomed by the Government of Japan. North Korea has made various pronouncements to date, but the Government of Japan strongly calls on North Korea to strictly refrain from any further acts of provocation, including missile launches or nuclear tests.

REPORTER: Following the adoption of this resolution, is the Government considering any additional unilateral sanctions against North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In view of the fact that this resolution was adopted unanimously, the basic stance of the Abe Administration is to employ all means to work together in cooperation with the international community to ensure that the sanctions are effective. That is the direction in which the Government will proceed.


REPORTER: With regard to the Security Council resolution on North Korea, what is the Government's current view concerning the danger of a nuclear test by North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: When resolutions such as this recent one are announced, North Korea invariably makes some sort of comment. However, what I would say is that the Government is always on a maximum state of alert when it comes to protecting the people of Japan. There is nothing more and nothing less than this reality.

REPORTER: I believe a visit by Prime Minister Abe to the Republic of Korea is being considered to coincide with the inauguration ceremony of the President of the Republic of Korea. What is the current status of coordination concerning a possible visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No announcement has yet been made concerning whether the Prime Minister will or will not make a visit to the Republic of Korea, indeed no decision has yet been made at all.

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