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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 13, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the terror attack in Turkey. Yesterday, a bombing terrorist attack occurred in Istanbul, Turkey, which has reportedly killed ten people as of now. The Government of Turkey concluded that the attack was perpetrated by the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). Can you please share the Japanese Government’s comments and response to the terror attack?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, with regard to the bombing incident that occurred in Istanbul on the 12th, the Government of Turkey has acknowledged that it was a terror attack. I express my deepest condolences to the victims and their families, and extend my sympathy to those who were injured in the attack. Japan stands in strong solidarity with the countries concerned, including Turkey and Germany. Terrorism cannot be justified for any reason, and Japan firmly condemns such act of terrorism. Japan is always working closely with the international community, and is committed to preventing terror attacks. The Government will take all possible measures for domestic counter-terrorism, and will ensure the safety of Japanese nationals overseas with enhanced vigilance. According to the Consulate-General in Turkey, the people who were killed or injured that are known as of now do not include Japanese nationals.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The site of this terror attack by ISIL is a famous tourist attraction that is also visited by many Japanese people. It is thought that the terror attack targeted foreign tourists. While I imagine that it is difficult to prevent these attacks completely, how does the Government intend to ensure the safety of Japanese tourists?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, after the attack occurred, the Japanese Consulate-General in Istanbul immediately sent out an e-mail to Japanese nationals in Turkey and short-term travelers in order to alert them. In addition, relevant spot information was released as part of the overseas safety information made available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Overseas Safety website. In any case, the Government will provide information in advance for Japanese people as much as possible, including to those persons travelling overseas, and will take steady measures to ensure that Japanese people do not go to areas where there is the risk of a terror attack.


REPORTER: Yesterday, Vice-President Masahiko Komura of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov of Russia held talks and confirmed that Japan and Russia will intensify their dialogues. What is the Government’s assessment of this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, yesterday LDP Vice-President Komura met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov for about one and a half hours. Vice-President Komura handed over a letter from Prime Minister Abe addressed to President Vladimir Putin, and said that he expected that Japan-Russia relations would deepen further under the leadership of the two leaders, including in the area of the Northern Territories issues. With regard to North Korea, the two sides agreed that the recent nuclear test was unacceptable, and that Japan and Russia would continue to collaborate on this issue, including efforts at the United Nations. I believe that the realization of this high-level visit at the beginning of the year has great significance for the momentum of this year’s Japan-Russia relations.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It is also about Russia. Yesterday, Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu of Russia announced that all 392 military facilities being built in the Northern Territories must be completed by the end of the year. Could you please share the comments of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Four Northern Islands are inherent territories of Japan. The Government is consistently following Russia’s activities. With regard to yesterday’s remarks, as has been declared thus far, the Minister referred to the building of military facilities in the Arctic and infrastructure facilities on the Four Northern Islands. Recognizing that they are inherent territories of Japan, the Government will make a steady response while closely and consistently following Russia’s activities.

REPORTER: A related question. So, the Government is not lodging protests?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As these are inherent territories of Japan, the Government will fully communicate the views of Japan to Russia.


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