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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 22, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

1. Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


The 13th meeting of the Emergency Response Headquarters for the Earthquake Centered in the Kumamoto Region of Kumamoto Prefecture 2016 just took place. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed the Government to put its utmost efforts into the restoration of lifeline services and move quickly in preparation of temporary housing. The Government intends to continue to implement search and rescue activities and mobilize its full capabilities to support disaster victims in daily living mainly through the Team to Support the Daily Lives of Disaster Victims.

Japan received an offer to supply assistance goods from the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) Government related to the earthquake, and two ROK transport planes carrying assistance goods arrived at Kumamoto Airport at around 4:20pm today following coordination between the two Governments. The ROK side is currently transferring the assistance goods, including retort pouch rice, drinking water, and blankets. This is meaningful assistance from the standpoint of the Japan-ROK relationship, and I would like to express appreciation to the ROK Government for this warm assistance.

2. Q&As

REPORTER: Please explain the purpose of Prime Minister Abe’s observation visit to the affected areas tomorrow.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Prime Minister Abe has been instructing related officials that it is essential to enlist the Government’s full capabilities with the intention of doing everything it can to assist disaster victims in daily living with a thorough understanding of the concerns they face. I think he planned the observation trip with a strong conviction of wanting to visit the affected areas to directly see the site and come into contact with the voices of affected people and sufficiently reflect these experiences in future measures.

REPORTER: This is a related question. I think efforts to accept volunteers are ramping up in the affected areas. Does the Government plan to be actively involved in order to enhance this capability? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government obviously is having officials participate in coordination meetings with volunteer representatives, and results from these coordination efforts have started appearing.

REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe issued instructions at the Emergency Response Headquarters to move quickly with preparation of temporary housing. What is your estimate of the scale of provisional housing that needs to be built?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is looking into this point and currently moving forward with preparations, including possible locations, but does not have a specific final number yet. As mentioned earlier, the Government has secured about 2,800 homes, mainly in public housing, throughout Kyushu and primarily in Kumamoto Prefecture. Furthermore, around 5,500 public housing units are available nationwide, including areas outside of Kyushu. The Government plans to steadily respond while listening to the requests of disaster victims. 


REPORTER: I would like to switch topics to a question that has been raised recently. Media sources are reporting that United States President Barak H. Obama plans to visit Hiroshima on May 27 after the Ise-Shima Summit finishes and Prime Minister Abe will accompany him. Please explain related facts and adjustments.  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There has not been any coordination between Japan and the United States on a visit by President Obama to Hiroshima. Furthermore, the Japanese Government does not have any comment because the United States Government makes decisions about the President’s schedule.   


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