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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 2, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The hostage incident of Japanese nationals in Syria

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the taking of hostages by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). During the summit meeting held between Prime Minister Abe and King Abdullah II of Jordan in November of last year, was there any mention of the possibility that Japanese nationals may have been taken hostage?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that there was no particular exchange on any such matter.

REPORTER: If I may follow up, during the summit meeting in January or other such meetings did Japan make any request to the King of Jordan seeking cooperation towards securing the release of the Japanese nationals?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There was no particular discussion of any such matter.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the return of the bodies of Mr. Yukawa and Mr. Goto to Japan. Is it your understanding that this will be difficult to realize?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we are currently analyzing the images in detail. Working with the National Research Institute of Police Science and other relevant organizations, we are of course comprehensively considering all the various information, including whether or not the persons in the video are in fact Mr. Goto and Mr. Yukawa. That being said, at this point in time we have no evidence to deny that Mr. Goto and Mr. Yukawa were murdered. In any case, as you are all aware, we are dealing with an extremely dangerous terrorist group. As such, we will obtain the best possible information and exert our utmost efforts in relation to the bodies of Mr. Goto and Mr. Yukawa.

REPORTER: Depending on the circumstances, is there any possibility that Japan may seek to engage ISIL, either directly or indirectly?


REPORTER: Yesterday, ISIL claimed in a radio broadcast that it had killed Mr. Goto. Does the Government deem that the recent series of criminal acts was in fact conducted by ISIL?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no evidence to suggest otherwise.


REPORTER: In light of recent events, I have a question about the freedom of travelling abroad, which I believe you touched upon recently. While the freedom of travelling abroad is guaranteed under the Constitution, some people are calling for discussion regarding the advantages and disadvantages of imposing regulations on travel. What is your view on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Japanese Government firmly and strongly condemns these despicable acts of terrorism. At present the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has issued an evacuation advisory, including a recommendation to defer all travel, for all areas of Syria, which is the highest level travel advisory caution the ministry issues. The purpose of issuing this evacuation advisory is to ensure the security of the people and to ensure that the people are fully aware of the situation. To that end, MOFA is cautioning those seeking to go to such a dangerous place. Nevertheless, the Government is aware that a variety of opinions exist on the matter, as this also pertains to certain parts of the Constitution and there are questions regarding the extent to which such cautions can be issued.


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