Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  January 2015 >  January 27, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 27, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Hostage incident of Japanese nationals in Syria
  • 70th anniversary of the Second World War

REPORTER: In the recent plenary meeting of the House of Representatives, in response to a question from Diet member Maehara of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Prime Minister Abe stated that last year in August and November, directly after it had become clear that each of the two hostages had gone missing, a liaison office was established at the Prime Minister’s Office and a response office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as a local response headquarters in Jordan, which engaged in the collection of information and requests for cooperation through all channels at the Government’s disposal. Can you confirm for us at what point in time the Government became aware that the two Japanese nationals had gone missing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government established a liaison office on August 17 last year, and the same office was also tasked with making a response to the disappearance of Mr. Goto on November 1. A response office was similarly established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 17, which also took on the case of Mr. Goto on November 1. In terms of the local response headquarters, this was established on August 16 to deal with the case of Mr. Yukawa, to which the case of Mr. Goto was added on November 1. These were the dates on which the offices and cases were established and a response initiated. However, the establishment of these offices was not announced due to the nature of the cases being dealt with.

REPORTER: So the Prime Minister made his speech during his visit to the Middle East with the knowledge that these two persons were missing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is a fact that the offices were established on August 17 and November 1. During the Prime Minister’s visit to the Middle East he made a speech announcing humanitarian assistance which was the same as assistance that had previously been implemented.

REPORTER: To date, the Government has stated that it has been seeking the cooperation of the Government of Jordan. In a doorstep interview in Jordan this morning Japan time, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakayama stated that the Government has received tremendous cooperation from the Government of Jordan. Given that the phrase being used has changed from seeking cooperation to receiving cooperation, we would assume that the situation is moving forward. Is this also your recognition of the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is currently making every effort in the midst of what is an extremely difficult situation to secure the early release of Mr. Goto. It is of course a fact that we are requesting the cooperation of all concerned parties, including the Government of Jordan, and there is no change whatsoever in our stance of making every endeavor to secure Mr. Goto’s early release. The situation is fluid, and I would like to refrain from going into any further detail.


REPORTER: Based on this current situation, is it the Government’s understanding that there is an elevated risk of Japanese nationals overseas becoming caught up in or targeted by acts of terrorism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is of course the role of the Government to make every effort to protect Japanese nationals at home and overseas, and engage in measures to combat terrorism. Therefore to date we have engaged in various counter terrorism measures, including the collection of intelligence, enhancing our analytical capacity, engaging in thorough measures at Japan’s borders, and maintaining an alert as well as patrols of important facilities. In light of this recent incident, the Government has issued instructions for measures that ensure the further strengthening of the safety and security of Japanese nationals.


REPORTER: Returning to the initial question concerning the establishment of liaison offices, in November last year, His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan paid a visit to Japan, at which time he held a meeting with the Prime Minister. On his recent visit to the Middle East the Prime Minister held another meeting with H.M. King Abdullah. I hear from a source who accompanied the Prime Minister on his recent visit that in both of these meetings the Government of Jordan indicated that if there was anything it could do to help, it would provide its cooperation. Can we assume, therefore, that there was an exchange of opinions concerning issues relating to the safety of the two hostages in these Japan-Jordan summit meetings?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any comment in the forum of this press conference about the conversations that took place in summit meetings.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning a statement by the Prime Minister on the 70th anniversary of the Second World War. Yesterday in a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the press spokesperson stated that the international community would be closely watching to see whether Japan would deny its history of aggression or whether it would reflect deeply on the past. Can I ask whether the Abe administration considers past events such as the Manchurian Incident and the Sino-Japanese War to be acts of Japanese aggression?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to individual cases, this is something that should be left to historians to discuss and I would like to refrain from making any comment on behalf of the Government.

REPORTER: With regard to the matter that was raised at the beginning of the press conference, if it is the case that by November last year response offices had been established to deal with the cases of both Mr. Yukawa and Mr. Goto, was any consideration given to these cases, or did they constitute factors in making a decision on whether the Prime Minister would or would not make a visit to the Middle East this month?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the details myself, but in any event, the Government’s stance is to contribute to the peace and stability of the Middle East, which is something that the Prime Minister clearly explained during his visit. The Government has and will continue to provide assistance to the region.

REPORTER: So the decision to embark on a visit to the Middle East was made in view of the universality, or rather importance of Middle East policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Middle East is an extremely important region for Japan, not least in terms of energy issues. The Prime Minister therefore made his visit to the Middle East from the perspective of contributing to energy, security and other international issues. It was in view of the significance of the region that after a process of comprehensive consideration, taking into account the activities of ISIL and the security situation in the region, that a decision was made for the Prime Minister to make this visit. I think it is therefore entirely inappropriate to link these inhumane and despicable acts of terrorism with the Prime Minister’s Middle East visit.

REPORTER: I have a point of confirmation with regard to the Prime Minister’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Will the Government be leaving discussions to historians on whether historical invasions of China, namely the Sino-Japanese War, were acts of aggression?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the statement that will be released by the Prime Minister will send out a message about Japan’s remorse for the Second World War, the path that Japan has taken as a peace-loving nation in the post-war period, and what contribution Japan can make to the Asia-Pacific region and the world in the years ahead. In specific terms, the content of the statement will be considered by the Government from now, taking into account the opinions of experts. Furthermore, the Government will succeed to the position taken by previous cabinets with regard to the understanding of history in its entirety, including the Murayama Statement. The Abe Cabinet, therefore, has no intention whatsoever of denying the facts relating to past aggression and colonial rule. However, as the content is something that will be determined by experts and this is a process that has not yet been initiated, I am not currently in a position to respond to individual issues.

Page Top

Related Link