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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 25, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


A short while ago the Prime Minister held the 16th meeting of the Emergency Response Headquarters for the Earthquake Centered in the Kumamoto Region of Kumamoto Prefecture 2016. The Prime Minister noted that ten days have now passed since the earthquake struck and people have been placed in physically and mentally harsh conditions. Accordingly, he issued instructions for measures to be taken as quickly as possible for the affected people to be relocated from evacuation centers and their vehicles to safe housing, for which top priority needs to be given to tasks such as assessment of the damage of affected houses and the issuance of disaster victim certificates. He also instructed that measures be speedily advanced to engage in the building of temporary housing. The Government will continue to make every effort to support people affected through search and rescue activities and the actions of the Team to Support the Daily Lives of Disaster Victims.


REPORTER: I have a question about personnel who are to be dispatched for the purpose of issuing disaster victim certificates. How many people is the Government planning to dispatch for this purpose and about when do you expect the issuance of certificates to be completed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Currently approximately 600 people are engaged in work to certify damage to homes caused by the disaster. The Government is also advancing measures to select national public employees for dispatch to local areas in order to further accelerate the issuance of disaster victim certificates. In addition, approximately 1,000 public employees from local governments around the country are providing support to the affected areas. In addition to these people, the Government has requested the dispatch of further personnel to engage in the work of issuing certificates and work to select people for dispatch is continuing. Naturally some of the 1,000 people currently engaged in support measures will be assigned to the work of issuing disaster victim certificates.


REPORTER: Changing the subject, I have a question concerning North Korea. North Korea has announced the successful launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Although analysis suggests that the launch may have been a failure, could you tell us about the Government’s analysis and response, given that the launch has also been criticized by President Obama of the United States and the United Nations Security Council?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the announcement that North Korea has conducted the successful underwater test launch of such an SLBM. In this regard the United States has announced that it detected and tracked a single SLBM launched by North Korea at 6:29 p.m. on April 23 (Japan time) in the Sea of Japan. Due to the nature of this matter I would like to refrain from making any comment about the details and analysis concerning the recent launch. However, the Government is working closely together with the United States and was similarly aware of the launch of a single SLBM. In any event, there was no confirmed overflight of any projectile over Japanese territory and no situation occurred that would have had an immediate impact on the safety of the nation.


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