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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 2, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the so-called Global Coalition. The United States has announced that Japan is a part of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which consists of more than 60 countries, including those providing non-military assistance. In yesterday’s press conference, when asked whether Japan was a part of this Global Coalition, you stated clearly that this was not the case. Is it the recognition of the Government that, as the United States has stated, Japan is a member of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, which consists of more than 60 countries, including those providing non-military assistance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: What I stated yesterday was that Japan is not a member of any military coalition. Japan has been a part of the Global Coalition, which consists of 60 countries, since last year. The Global Coalition is engaged in five lines of effort, including providing military support, and from among those lines of effort Japan is engaged in addressing humanitarian crises in the region. I believe that a ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition was held on December 3 last year in Brussels, which was attended by 60 coalition partners. It was at this meeting that the five lines of effort were identified, including providing military support, impeding the flow of foreign fighters, stopping ISIL’s financing and funding, and addressing humanitarian crises in the region. Japan is not involved in support for military operations.

REPORTER: This question relates to a matter that the Prime Minister has recently mentioned in his responses to Diet questions. He noted that in response to the recent hostage incident, the ministries and agencies concerned were considering holding a meeting to discuss cross-cutting, effective countermeasures to deal with international terrorism. Could you provide us with an overview of this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Executive Meeting on International Terrorism Countermeasures is currently being held among director general-level officials from ministries and agencies concerned. In addition, tomorrow I intend to chair a meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Measures Against Transnational Organized Crime and Other Relative Issues and International Terrorism, which is another body that already exists. At these meetings we will be engaging in a thorough review of the Government’s response to the recent incident and will also be seeking the opinions of experts, or inviting experts to attend and provide their opinions.


REPORTER: I have a related question. You referred to a review process in yesterday’s press conference. Are you envisaging a process similar to the Algerian hostage incident, for example, where the Government will initially implement a review meeting, followed by a second stage expert consultative meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, I recognize the tremendous importance of the constant review of terrorism countermeasures. For this case the Government plans to implement an internal review. Whether or not the opinions of experts will be sought is something that has yet to be decided.


REPORTER: Mr. Bassam al-Manaseer, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Jordanian House of Representatives has spoken frankly to JNN news about how earnestly Japan made efforts to seek the release of the hostages, mentioning that Japan had indicated its readiness to pay a ransom, going as far as to state a specific sum of money. Although he did not make his sources clear to back his statement, could you tell us the facts behind this report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no truth to such reports. It is a 100% falsehood, and I unequivocally deny such reports.


REPORTER: Japan has indicated a policy of not engaging in rear-area support in the fight against ISIL. Could you tell us the reason for this decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, of the 60 countries of the so-called Global Coalition, I believe that around 20 are actually engaged in direct military operations. The Government has clearly stated that Japan will not participate in military operations and will not be engaging in rear-area support. Furthermore this extremist terrorist group is engaged in all manner of depravities and it is the moderate people of the countries of the Middle East that are on the frontlines being subjected to such acts. ISIL’s acts of terror are causing large numbers of refugees and displaced persons, more than 10 million persons in fact. These people have nowhere to live and are spending their days in the winter cold in tents. Their food supplies are also far from satisfactory. It is in response to this situation that Japan has been implementing humanitarian assistance to date. Moving forward, Japan will continue to provide such aid, including food and medical assistance.


REPORTER: On a related note, there are plans to develop security-related legislation. If legislation is developed for rear-area support, is there a possibility that Japanese personnel will be dispatched to counter ISIL?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: ISIL is not a country. I would like to refrain from commenting on such hypothetical matters.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In the recent committee meeting the Prime Minister spoke about how the criminals should be brought to justice. What did he have in mind when he made this statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the Prime Minister had in mind the various possibilities that exist, including the International Criminal Court. The Chiba Prefectural Police and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department have established a joint investigation headquarters and they will be doing everything possible in that context.


REPORTER: According to some press reports, from September last year Mr. Kenji Goto was repeatedly and directly requested by the Government to postpone his plans to travel to Syria. What are the facts behind these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued evacuation advice for all Japanese nationals in Syria, not just for Mr. Goto, as the situation in the country remains extremely dangerous. The Government is firmly cautioning all people against travel to the country.

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