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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, January 25, 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

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the incident in Algeria in which Japanese nationals were taken hostage, arrangements have been made for the body of the one remaining Japanese national to arrive at Narita Airport at around 2:00 pm tomorrow. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kiuchi is scheduled to return to Japan on the same aircraft. Parliamentary Vice-Minister Kiuchi is then scheduled to visit the Prime Minister to make a report. At Narita Airport, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida, among others, are expected to welcome them.


  • Verification process by the Government concerning the incident in Algeria
  • Okinawa related issues


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question with regard to the verification team. I would like to ask what the verification team will be verifying regarding the incident, that is, what sort of themes and what sort of items it will be verifying?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We would like to start by verifying the overall activities which were undertaken by the respective bureaus of the Government from when the occurrence of this incident first emerged up to today, including what activities were missing or what activities were appropriate.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida announced in his press conference this morning that a response team will be set up within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals working at companies overseas. Where does this MOFA team fit in with regard to the verification team that you are leading? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe not only MOFA but other ministries and agencies will also be conducting their own respective verifications. The verifications of the Cabinet Secretariat will be based on the verifications compiled by the respective ministries and agencies. Thus, MOFA is asked to conduct verifications carefully, and if any problems are found, to also raise them to the verification team. Naturally, Directors-General from MOFA will be included in the verification team. The verification team will be verifying what efforts were lacking or what efforts were necessary in terms of the Government's entire response and so on. As there are still many Japanese companies which are active on the front lines overseas, we hope that the verifications will be able to help in any way possible with future responses should this sort of incident ever happen again. In this light, we will start the verifications of the incident from next week.   


REPORTER: A short while ago, the ministers concerned with Okinawa - the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of State for Okinawa Affairs, and yourself - convened a meeting. Could you please share with us what was discussed at this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Minister of State for Okinawa Affairs Yamamoto recently visited Okinawa, and therefore, he reported on his visit at the four ministers' meeting. Discussions took place on a variety of matters pertaining to the issues of Okinawa in view of the visit.

REPORTER: Were any statements made regarding the focal issue of the runway?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The requests made by Okinawa were raised at the meeting.

REPORTER: If I may ask one more question, I am not sure if this came up in the meeting, but one of the focal issues is whether the central Government will apply for the land reclamation of Henoko before the Prime Minister visits the United States. What is the Government's current view regarding this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the first step is to confirm the wishes of Okinawa and the Governor. We will start from there. We would like to examine the issues of Okinawa while respecting local opinions as much as possible.


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