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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 26, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the extraordinary Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved four general measures – the draft fiscal policy speech by Minister of Finance Aso, the General Account supplementary budget for FY2014, the Special Account supplementary budget for FY2014, and the Budgets of Government Agencies’ supplementary budget for FY2014 – and a draft bill. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of Finance made a statement concerning the FY2014 supplementary budget. With that, let me take your questions.


  • The issue of the capture of Japanese nationals by ISIL

REPORTER: I have a question in connection with the capture of Japanese nationals by the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). On January 25, a radio station purportedly operated by ISIL broadcasted that it killed one of the Japanese nationals it had captured. Has the Government concluded that this radio station is part of the ISIL organization?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware that the radio station you just referred to is one of the public relations services of ISIL.

REPORTER: What is your analysis of the content?


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is not in a position to make judgments regarding ISIL’s claim of responsibility. However, based on a comprehensive assessment of the circumstances, including the fact that the video released on January 20 is deemed to have been circulated by ISIL, we consider it highly probable that ISIL members were responsible for this incident.

REPORTER: Can you once again explain in a little more detail the Government’s rationale for determining that there is credence to ISIL’s claim of responsibility for the killing of Mr. Yukawa?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A photograph purportedly showing the killing of Mr. Yukawa has circulated on the Internet. However, as the Government has not confirmed the body, it cannot be concluded that Mr. Yukawa was killed. Experts are analyzing the image. Relevant information is now being collected. But as of now, we have found nothing to deny the killing of Mr. Yukawa, so it is highly probable.

REPORTER: During the extraordinary Cabinet meeting or the ministerial discussions following the extraordinary Cabinet meeting, did the Prime Minister make any remarks pertaining to the hostage-taking by ISIL?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A video of a photograph showing the killing of an individual purported to be Mr. Yukawa was released. Given such circumstances, the Prime Minister stated that it pains him to think of the sorrow of the family members. To the relevant ministers, the Prime Minister made a statement to the effect that the Cabinet will make its strongest and most concerted efforts to rescue and ensure the release of Mr. Goto as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: Has ISIL made any contact with you since releasing the image?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Not with the Government of Japan.

REPORTER: Has the Japanese Government concluded that ISIL is responsible for the latest series of incidents?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated a short while ago, a video was circulated. Or ISIL has disseminated various messages. Based on a comprehensive assessment of such circumstances, the Government concluded that the likelihood is very high.

REPORTER: The perpetrators are seeking the release of an Iraqi inmate on death row who is imprisoned in Jordan. Is the Japanese Government making any specific requests to the Jordanian Government, including approaching them about exchanging Mr. Goto for the death-row inmate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government will and is making its strongest efforts by pursuing every possible channel to realize the swift release of Mr. Goto, first and foremost, to save his life, while obtaining the cooperation of the Jordanian Government, other relevant countries, and a range of groups, including leaders of religious and tribal groups. Japan will not give in to terrorism, and our position of actively contributing to the counter-terrorism efforts of the international community remains unchanged.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the topic of the video which came up earlier, regarding the image in the video purporting the killing of Mr. Yukawa. First, what was the Government’s conclusion concerning the authenticity of the video, including the voice of the speaker purported to be Mr. Goto speaking in English on the video.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Experts are studying these matters. However, the Government cannot deny that the speaker is Mr. Goto.

REPORTER: So it is highly likely that the voice is Mr. Goto’s?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We cannot deny it. The chances are high.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding Mr. Yukawa who was purportedly killed. Some experts and others note that Mr. Yukawa might had already been killed prior to the incident. What is the view of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is true that there was a variety of information on Mr. Yukawa from some time ago. However, from the video alone, it is rather difficult to concretely determine the when and the where.

REPORTER: It is reported that before the video was uploaded onto a video site on the evening of the 24th, Mr. Goto’s family received an E-mail with this video attached. Does the Government have an understanding regarding the truth of these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no understanding regarding the truth of these reports.

REPORTER: I would like to once again confirm something which I think is very important for the public to understand this incident. Initially, ISIL took Mr. Yukawa and Mr. Goto as hostages and strongly demanded the payment of ransom. But, since the beginning, has ISIL had any intention of negotiating with Japan? Could I please confirm this with you?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated, we have not had any contact with ISIL.

REPORTER: As ISIL did not specify a new negotiation deadline for its new demand, it is anticipated that the situation will drag on. What are your intentions with regard to enhancing the personnel dispatched to Jordan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We understand that the Local Response Headquarters is steadily dealing with the situation under the leadership of Chairman Nakayama.


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