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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 26, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue regarding the statement for the 70th anniversary
  • The issue of the capture of Japanese nationals by ISIL

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the statement that the Prime Minister will release for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. While appearing on a political debate show on television yesterday, the Prime Minister made a statement to the effect that he would not adhere to the wording of the Murayama and Koizumi Statements, like “colonial rule,” “aggression,” “deep remorse,” and “heartfelt apology.” The Government has thus far commented that it would uphold the position outlined in previous statements in its entirety. What did the Prime Minister mean by his remark?    

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, with regard to the content of the statement, as the Prime Minister stated from before, I anticipate that the statement would communicate Japan’s deep remorse regarding WWII, the path Japan has taken as a peace-loving nation following WWII, and how Japan will contribute to peace in Japan, the Asia-Pacific region, and the world. With that as the major premise, the 70th anniversary statement will present a vision of the Japan we want to see by the 80th, 90th, and 100th anniversaries. As I have stated from before, the Government will seek out the opinions of intellectuals in considering the exact content of the statement. Furthermore, as the Prime Minister has also reiterated, the Abe Cabinet has upheld and will continue to uphold the position on the recognition of history outlined by previous cabinets in its entirety, including the Murayama Statement. It is through this kind of process that the Abe administration will release a statement. In drafting a future-oriented statement, the Government will consider what kinds of phrases shall be used to send out a message, while listening to the various opinions of intellectuals. So the premise of the statement is as I stated.


REPORTER: I have a question in connection with the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). My question slightly overlaps with this morning’s question. It is about the audio track on the circulated video. Some note that the results of the voiceprint and other analyses indicate that the voice is not Mr. Goto’s. Could you once again tell us whether it is highly likely that the voice is Mr. Goto’s, as well as why you believe that to be the case?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We asked multiple organizations, including the National Research Institute of Police Science, to confirm the authenticity of the video, audio, and so on. Based on a comprehensive assessment of these analyses, we arrived at the judgment that I stated.  


REPORTER: With the change in the perpetrators’ demand from money to the release of a female death-row inmate, some opine that the cooperation of the Jordanian Government will become even more important and that the incident has increased in complexity. Do you perceive that the negotiations are becoming more difficult?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We, the Government, will do everything we can. I believe that is what it comes down to.

REPORTER: One more question. So you think it will not be easy to request the Jordanian Government’s cooperation to release the female death-row inmate for another country’s hostage?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, the situation is extremely severe. It is not clear what these despicable perpetrators are seeking. It is also a fact that they have carried out terrorist attacks. That is the reality of the situation. In light of these circumstances, the Government is requesting the cooperation of relevant countries, including the Jordanian Government, and is making its strongest efforts to realize the quickest possible release of Mr. Goto. It is not for the Government to comment on whether the responses over the past week were good or bad. At any rate, we are asking for the cooperation of relevant countries, including the Jordanian Government. 


REPORTER: Returning to the topic of ISIL, you have stated in your press conferences that various information comes to the attention of the Government. As of now, have you obtained any information that can be construed as progress with the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As this is an ongoing matter, I would like to refrain from responding to your question.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the image of Mr. Kenji Goto. This may be  similar to a question asked this morning, but you said that the Government confirmed the image on the Internet after 11 p.m. on the 24th. There is information that more than half a day earlier on the morning of the 24th, an E-mail attached with the same image was sent to Mr. Goto’s wife. Could you tell us once again if the Government had known about the image before 11 p.m. on the 24th?


REPORTER: I have a related question. Then afterwards, did you confirm whether the video had been sent to Mr. Goto’s wife?


REPORTER: I have a question related to ISIL, about the latest still image of a man purported to be Mr. Goto. Some experts note that in the image, the head part may have been doctored onto the body of another individual. What is the Government’s view regarding the possibility of the still image being a composite image?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware of what is being said. However, as I stated a short while ago, from the very beginning we have requested multiple organizations, including the National Research Institute of Police Science, to confirm the authenticity. On this basis, we judge that the image is highly likely to be of Mr. Goto.

REPORTER: To follow up on the previous question, does that mean you consider it highly likely that both the image and audio are of Mr. Goto?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, it is highly likely that they are of Mr. Goto.

REPORTER: My question pertains to the hostage situation. Outside of Japan, every day, various countries have expressed that they will cooperate and work with the Japanese Government. Domestically, the public opinion poll conducted by Kyodo News serves as an indicator of the public’s current views regarding the responses of the Government. I understand that it is a tense situation right now, but could you share your opinion regarding this? 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government considers the release of the Japanese hostage to be a top priority. Within this context, Japan will never give in to terrorism, and actively contribute to the peace and stability of the world together with the international community in an unwavering manner. The Government is now doing everything it can based on this position. The Government continues to take actions based on this position. That is the bottom line.

REPORTER: The previous question was about the public opinion in Japan. But with the Jordanian air force pilot also being taken hostage, there are also various media reports in Japan regarding the public opinion in Jordan. Can you please comment on the public opinion in Jordan?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We of course recognize that Jordan has views of its own. It is within this context that the Government is working, first and foremost, to realize the release of the Japanese hostage, while asking for the cooperation of relevant countries, including Jordan. Such an utterly despicable act of terrorism can never be condoned.


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