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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, January 24, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The current status on the abduction of Japanese nationals in Algeria

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the incident in Algeria in which Japanese nationals were taken hostage, I must announce a new piece of heart breaking news. A short while ago, during my press conference, there was a phone call from Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kiuchi to my mobile. When I phoned the Parliamentary Vice-Minister, he informed me that he was able to confirm the body of the one remaining Japanese national while his team was working hard since this morning to confirm the safety of the national. The deaths of ten Japanese nationals have been confirmed, including the nine which had already been confirmed. The Government would like to express its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims. I am once again deeply saddened by the loss of many precious lives in this way. The Government firmly condemns this contemptible act of terror.

The Government aircraft carrying the seven Japanese nationals whose safety has been confirmed and the nine bodies has departed the transit stop on schedule and is expected to arrive in Haneda at around 7:00 am Japan time tomorrow as scheduled.

As for the body of the one national which was confirmed at this time, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kiuchi who is on site is currently leading the efforts to return the body to Japan at the earliest possible date following the completion of the necessary procedures.

That is all from me.


  • The current status on the abduction of Japanese nationals in Algeria

REPORTER: Is it correct to believe that with this latest confirmation, there are no more Japanese nationals whose safety is unknown or are missing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, that is safe to assume.

REPORTER: Did you report this sad news to the Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, and I understand that a phone call was also made to the Prime Minister during my press conference.

REPORTER: Upon receiving this news, did the Prime Minister make any comments or remarks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Upon receiving the report from Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kiuchi, I went to report it to the Prime Minister. Regarding the act of terror, the Prime Minister stated that it is incredibly egregious and that the outcome is regrettable.

REPORTER: What were the circumstances in which the body was discovered? What method was used to confirm the identity?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Initially, the report from this morning Algeria time, or yesterday Japan time, was that the remaining bodies were severely mutilated, that identification would be difficult, and that some time would be required. Based on the circumstances as of yesterday, we believed it would be difficult to identify the body for some time. However, according to the report from the site, the local security authorities brought out bodies one at a time, and the Japanese team began the work of confirming the identity of the remaining unconfirmed national. I understand that the body was the second body to be brought out, and I have been informed that there were a variety of possessions, etc., which made it possible to make the confirmation at the site.

REPORTER: With regard to the forthcoming activities of Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kiuchi, will he be returning to Japan with the body? Also, for the time being, what are the plans for meeting with members of the Algerian Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kiuchi stated that he would like to stay until the end and return to Japan with the body. Therefore, naturally I believe this is what will happen.

REPORTER: Regarding the state of the body, can you share a bit more information, if any, to the extent that you can, such as whether the Japanese national was gunned down? Also, as this is murder, I believe an investigation of the situation will continue. Will Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kiuchi be setting up the arrangements or will the police be leading the work?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally, I believe it will be the police after the bodies return to Japan.

REPORTER: What about the state of the body or the cause of death, etc.?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have not confirmed to that extent.

REPORTER: Is it correct to understand that the discovered body was a man's?


REPORTER: In the process of collecting various information up to now, including for the confirmation of the bodies, I believe Japan coordinated with mainly the United Kingdom and the United States. Does the Japanese Government intend to cooperate with the identification of other bodies of unknown nationalities?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Of course, today too, it was not only Japan. Today, if I am not mistaken, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kiuchi stated that a Norwegian team was also conducting this work with Japan. Taking into account such factors, I believe it is natural that Japan extends cooperation as much as possible.

REPORTER: With regard to the body which was confirmed today, is the Government considering the use of the Government aircraft once again to transport the body to Japan or is it exploring other methods?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We would like the body to be returned to Japan at the earliest possible date, so I believe a private carrier will be utilized.

REPORTER: Around when will the body be transported at the earliest? What will be the schedule?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the body was just confirmed, I am unable to make any definitive statements. Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kiuchi is currently making earnest efforts to be able to return the body to Japan as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: I believe the Government was considering disclosing the names of the original nine nationals in tandem with the arrival of the Government aircraft tomorrow. With the new discovery of the last national, is it possible that this schedule, etc., will be modified? Or will the Government be announcing the names of the ten nationals altogether at the end?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to announce the ten nationals' names. That is, I would like to announce them altogether.


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