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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 23, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

I. Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

I am in great shock and express great indignation at the bomb terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium on March 22 that killed and injured many people. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences for the people who died and their families. At this point, the Government has confirmed that one Japanese person was seriously injured and another person was slightly injured. I pray for the earliest possible recovery of injured persons, including these two people. Japan would like to express its strong solidarity with the people of Belgium and Europe. This type of barbaric terrorism is unacceptable for any reason, and Japan resolutely condemns it. Following this event, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe directed the Government to implement anti-terrorism measures, including ensuring the security of Japanese people living abroad and strictly conducting surveillance and security in Japan with even greater vigilance. The Government established a local response headquarters at the Japanese Embassy in Belgium and is doing its utmost to confirm the safety of Japanese people and ensure that they remain safe. While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued overseas safety information related to the threat of terrorism on the overseas safety web site on March 16 prior to the incidents, it has issued overseas safety information again following the incidents. Additionally, the Japanese Embassy in Belgium has sent multiple alert e-mails since the incidents to Japanese residents and short-term travelers to Belgium registered in the Tabi-Regi (Travel Register). As the G7 chair country, Japan intends to aggressively promote reinforcement of measures to combat terrorism and violent extremism, while cooperating with Belgium and the rest of the world, and do its utmost to ensure the safety of Japanese people outside of the country and implement anti-terrorism measures in Japan.

II. Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about the terrorist attacks in Belgium. Belgium was unable to prevent the attacks despite extensive security operations to prevent terrorism in Brussels. Please explain Japan’s response, such as whether it intends to bolster security levels, particularly with the Ise-Shima Summit two months from now.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The reality is that large-scale attacks occurred this time. Japan is currently taking steps to prevent occurrence of terrorist attacks with a high level of vigilance unrelated to this incident.

REPORTER: This is related. There are reports that Belgian officials had advance information on the attacks. What are your thoughts about the possibility of terrorist attacks occurring in Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan absolutely cannot allow this to happen, so it is putting its utmost efforts into security, including border-level measures, while closely cooperating with others in order to prevent any incidents.


REPORTER: Regarding security, while I would expect strict guarding of officials and sea-based patrols of the surrounding area for the Ise-Shima Summit, how should Japan protect shopping districts and other areas where ordinary people gather?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is implementing extensive measures to prevent terrorism by strengthening information collection and analysis at related ministries and agencies, strictly enforcing border-level measures, bolstering security at related facilities, including airports and public transportation, and making other responses.

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