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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 13, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



REPORTER: Is there information on whether any Japanese nationals were involved in the shooting incident in Florida? In addition, can you please discuss the Government’s response following the incident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I am immensely shocked and outraged to hear about the shooting terrorism incident that occurred in Orlando, Florida in the United States, resulting in a large number of casualties. I extend my sincere condolences to the victims of this incident and their families, and I offer my sympathies to the injured. The Government of Japan stands in strong solidarity with the U.S. Government and U.S. citizens. We cannot tolerate acts of terrorism for any reason. We resolutely condemn it. Japan will work closely with the international community, including the United States, to prevent acts of terrorism. As of now, I have not come across any information about Japanese nationals being affected. The Government will continue to verify the facts and will spare no effort to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals. At the same time, the Government will engage in domestic counter-terrorism measures with an even greater sense of urgency and take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals overseas.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Focus is on whether the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) has any connection with this incident. You have just referred to the counter-terrorism measures of Japan. Can you please explain the status of these measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I am aware of the news reports regarding the connection with ISIL. The Government is aware that while the U.S. authorities have yet to make a final determination about the precise motive of the perpetrator, they are investigating the incident as an act of terrorism. However, in any case, I believe it is not for the Government to make comments. In addition, I understand that ISIL has not released an official statement claiming responsibility. As part of the response of the Japanese Government, following the incident, the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami swiftly sent out an e-mail to caution Japanese nationals living in the area as well as to short-term travelers who registered with “Tabi Reji” [Travel Registration]. Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has posted relevant “Overseas Travel Safety Information” on its Overseas Safety website. The Government will continue to take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese residents and others in the United States.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask about the referendum that is scheduled to take place on the June 23 on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union (EU). Public opinion polls in the United Kingdom showed that more people support leaving the EU than remaining in the EU. These poll results have led to increased wariness among investors and to an all-round decline in stock prices in the United States and European countries since last week. Additionally, today, the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell close to 500 points due to the yen’s continued appreciation. This issue is having these effects on worldwide stock markets. In this regard, will the Japanese Government be issuing any kind of message?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, this is a matter that is up to the people of the United Kingdom to decide. Having said that, as it also has implications for Japanese interests, the Government believes it is desirable that the United Kingdom remains in the EU. The Prime Minister has communicated this clearly. The Government expects that the United Kingdom and the EU, as influential actors on the international stage, will continue to contribute to rules-based peace and stability in the international community, including Asia. I am of course aware of the fluctuations being observed in the market, with the Nikkei Stock Average declining and the long-term interest rate temporarily setting a new record-low today. However, as I have stated from before, the Government would like to refrain from commenting on each moment’s interest rate and stock price movements or the exchange rate level at the time. The Government will continue to closely follow the movements of the financial and stock markets, including the market impacts of the U.K. referendum on remaining or leaving the EU.


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