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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 17, 2016 (PM)

Ad Hoc Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga




REPORTER: I have a related question. You indicated that you would receive transport assistance from the U.S. Forces. What reasons led to this decision? In addition, around when do you expect this U.S. Force operation to begin?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe as soon as the arrangements are made. As the situation now stands, there is a huge need for aircraft and such equipment. Because of severed roads and traffic jams as a result of transport, goods cannot be distributed as we would like to. It was in this context that we made this decision.

REPORTER: A related question. The Prime Minister instructed the establishment of the Team to Support the Daily Lives of Disaster Victims. Can you please tell us specifically what will be the makeup of this team and what it will be considering?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are making every effort to respond to the disaster. At the same time, there are around 100,000 people who have evacuated their homes, and it will be critically important that we respond to the various requests of these people. The support team is to ensure that immediate responses can be taken by the Cabinet in a united manner under the leadership of Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Sugita under Minister of State for Disaster Management Kono, rather than in a vertically-segmented manner.

REPORTER: I have a related question regarding the assistance of the U.S. Forces. At this morning’s briefing to the press, the Prime Minister indicated that the necessary responses are in place, and therefore, there is no urgent need for the assistance of the U.S. Forces. Does it mean that new needs have emerged?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We decided to receive aircraft assistance in the course of receiving reports regarding the overall situation and regarding the situation from the respective affected areas. In any case, we hope it can be implemented as soon as the arrangements have been made.


REPORTER: I would like to return to the earlier topic of the assistance of the U.S. Forces. The U.S. Forces conducted Operation Tomodachi in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. What is the Government’s reaction to the fact that the U.S. Forces offered this assistance at this moment in time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Self-Defense Forces (SDF), the police, and the firemen have been making their best efforts to respond to the trying situation in the affected areas. The Government would like to express its deepest appreciation to the U.S. Forces for their offer of assistance. The Government is making the necessary arrangements with the U.S. side regarding the details of the transport, so as not to cause confusion. I expect it will begin as soon as the arrangements have been made. In the situation at hand, transport appears to be a particularly critical issue.

REPORTER: My question is related to the assistance of the U.S. Forces. What is the status of the arrangements regarding the types of aircraft, including whether or not the Osprey will be included?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This matter is being coordinated. Well, I should say, I gather that the use of the Osprey will be part of the arrangements, for example, for the transport of SDF units coming from Hokkaido to Kyushu, and of relief goods. I have not been briefed on the specifics, but in any case, the arrangements are now being made.

REPORTER: In the affected areas, especially in sightseeing areas, there seemed to have been cases in which Chinese and Korean visitors on tours as well as others became isolated or stranded. If you have any information, can you tell us the current situation of the overseas visitors and other non-residents who are stranded in the affected areas or are affected by the disaster?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are not fully aware of their situation. However, in any case, we are doing everything we can to respond to the needs of the affected people, regardless of whether they are Japanese nationals or overseas visitors.


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