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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 25, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A joint meeting of the committee that is currently assessing the recent acts of terrorism in Syria in which two Japanese nationals were murdered (third meeting) and external experts will be held today from 5:10 p.m. Today’s committee meeting will assess whether the Government responded in an appropriate manner, based on the policies for protecting Japanese nationals abroad that were compiled two years ago following the investigation of the incident in Algeria. In addition, today’s meeting will be attended by the five expert members I announced recently. They will provide opinions from a third-party and specialist perspective concerning the assessment that the Government has conducted thus far.


  • The crash accident of the German airliner
  • The Japan-China relations
  • The state funeral for Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the crash of the German airliner. A short while ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) released the names of two Japanese men who were included in the passenger list. Have you obtained any information since then regarding the safety of the two people?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, according to information from the site, on the 24th, at around 11 a.m., local time, a German plane crashed in the Alps mountain range in the south of France. Details, such as the cause of the accident, have not been revealed yet. According to the information we have, the chances are high that many passengers were killed. I would like to express my condolences to the people in the countries affected, including the families of the victims, during this moment of great sorrow. It appears that two people deemed to be Japanese nationals were aboard the crashed plane. Currently, the Government is make every possible effort to gather information, including confirming the safety of the Japanese nationals. With regard to the names of the two people that MOFA released, which you mentioned in your question, they are Mr. Satoshi Nagata, a man in his 60s; and Mr. Junichi Sato, a man in his 40s. I would like to refrain from disclosing further details that reveal their identity, as consent has not been obtained from their families.         

REPORTER: I have a related question. In your view, what is the possibility of this accident being an act of terrorism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As of now, the cause of the crash is unknown. I understand that local authorities are currently investigating the incident.

REPORTER: I have a question related to this matter. It seems that the search effort is experiencing difficulties. Is there any possibility that Japan will offer assistance, such as the dispatch of search units?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, in response to this accident, on the 24th, at 11 p.m., Japan launched a local response headquarters at the Consulate-General of Japan in Marseille. Necessary personnel have been dispatched from Japan’s diplomatic establishments in the area, and they are now working to confirm the safety of Japanese nationals and collect information. Furthermore, we are collecting information from the relevant diplomatic establishments in France, Germany, and Spain, and from local authorities. At the same time, we will be in contact with the people affected, including the families of the victims, to offer support from the perspective of protecting Japanese nationals. Japan stands ready to meet any requests we receive in relation to the incident. 

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to Japan-China relations. Yesterday, the Chinese Government officially announced that it had already invited leaders of the relevant countries to events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, including a military parade to be held this September. Has the Japanese Government been approached by the Chinese Government? Also, what is the likelihood of Prime Minister Abe attending the events?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, Japan considers it critically important that on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, we demonstrate our readiness to tackle the common issues facing the international community in a future-oriented manner. With regard to these events, we have already expressed our views. We will continue to follow the relevant developments. As for whether China approached us about Prime Minister Abe’s attendance, I would like to refrain from making comments at this point in time. 

REPORTER: The state funeral for Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore who passed away recently, will be held this Sunday. Parts of the media seem to be reporting that Prime Minister Abe will be attending the service. What is the status of the considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the media reports. However, I would like to refrain from making any comments regarding the Prime Minister’s overseas visits until plans are finalized.



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