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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 8, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

1. Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

An earthquake occurred in Southern Taiwan in the early morning of February 6, resulting in a large number of deaths and injuries. I would like to once again offer my sincere prayers for those who lost their lives and extend my heartfelt condolences to those affected and also pray for a quick recovery by those who were injured. From the perspective of providing assistance to the many people in Taiwan facing difficult circumstances, Japan has decided to provide assistance amounting to USD 1 million to The Red Cross Society of Taiwan and other organizations to enable swift disaster relief, recovery, reconstruction, and other efforts. Japan will continue to swiftly respond to the situation, while comprehensively taking into account information gathered on the ground, the needs of the Taiwanese side, and so on.

2. Q&As

REPORTER: This question is related to the earthquake in Southern Taiwan that you just mentioned. So Japan is providing financial assistance at this point. Does this mean that nothing has been decided yet regarding human assistance, such as fire personnel or Self Defense Forces? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is ready to provide such assistance at any time if there is a request.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about North Korea’s missile. North Korea cancelled the notice period that it had set through February 14. Please explain the Government’s response to this change, such as the warning and surveillance stance, notifications to airlines and shipping companies, and other actions. 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that North Korea cancelled the notice this morning as you noted. The Government has been gathering and analyzing intelligence on North Korea’s activities since the ballistic missile launch. I think the Ministry of Defense will make a determination on whether it is necessary to sustain our stance based on various information gathered and analyzed by the Government, including cancellation of the notice, and I expect it to decide and respond appropriately.

REPORTER: What then is the status of the destruction measures order?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I expect the Ministry of Defense will reach a suitable conclusion, including on that point.

REPORTER: This is related question. Regarding the sanctions on North Korea, some media reports claim that the Government is preparing for a decision on Japan’s own sanction measures at tomorrow’s Cabinet Meeting. Could you explain the possible schedule and other related facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have already noted that, in response to Prime Minister Abe’s instructions, the entire Government is currently making preparations to enable a swift decision on the content of detailed measures from the standpoint of determining what are the most effective steps for Japan to take in order to achieve a comprehensive resolution of various issues, such as the abduction issue, nuclear weapons, and missiles. This is the stage we are currently at.

REPORTER: This is related. Will the format be a Cabinet Meeting decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I think it will be the same as in the past, including this point.

REPORTER: This is related too. It is about the meeting that Minister Kato just held with members of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea. During the meeting, Shigeo Iizuka, the representative of the families’ association, expressed a desire to see quicker action on Japan’s own measures than sanctions by the United Nations. Do you expect to put together the sanctions swiftly, including from this perspective? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The abduction issue is truly a top priority for the Abe administration, and we are making efforts to achieve the return of all abduction victims to Japan as quickly as possible. I think Mr. Kato, the Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue, held a meeting with members of the families’ association and discussed various points in this context. In any case, the Government obviously intends to respond while also taking this view into account.


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