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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 29, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: Early this morning, Japan time, there has been a shooting and bombing incident believed to have been a suicide bombing at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, in which many people have died. Could you share with us what information the Government currently has about this incident, including the safety of Japanese nationals?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: At 4:00 a.m. on June 29, Japan time, or 10:00 p.m. on June 28 in local time, an explosion and shootings occurred at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. I am aware that of 9:00 a.m. this morning the Government of Turkey has announced that 36 people have died and 147 have been injured. Japan extends its sincere condolences to the bereaved families, and expresses its heartfelt sympathy to those who were injured. Japan also expresses its strong solidarity with the Government and people of Turkey. Terrorism cannot be justified for any reason, and Japan firmly condemns such act of terrorism. Japan is resolved to continue to closely collaborate with the international community in order to prevent terrorist attacks. The Government is working to engage in domestic anti-terror measures with a heightened sense of alert and is currently making every effort to confirm the safety of Japanese nationals. As of now we have no information that any Japanese nationals have been affected by this incident and efforts are ongoing at the Consulate-General of Japan in Istanbul to confirm the safety of our nationals and whether anyone has been affected.

REPORTER: I have a related question. There are press reports to suggest that“Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) may have been involved in the attack. What is the Government’s understanding with regard to the background to the attack?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: At the current point, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Government of Turkey has expressed a view that ISIL may be responsible. I am aware that the Government of Turkey has announced that the three terrorists arrived at the airport by taxi, after which they started shooting, before all three blew themselves up. The Government of Japan will continue to collect information and I would like to refrain from going into further detail at this point.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Yesterday an online article written by a former lieutenant general of the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) suggested that a Chinese fighter jet had made a threatening maneuver against ASDF jets. Could you explain that the Government is aware of about this matter, including the time and location of the incident?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: It is a fact that on Friday, June 17 ASDF aircraft were scrambled in response to Chinese military aircraft flying south. There is no truth to press claims that ASDF aircraft were subject to attack maneuvers or missile attack by Chinese aircraft. Scrambles against Chinese aircraft have been increasing and in fiscal 2015 reached a total of 571, the highest number since 2001, when the ASDF began publicizing the number of scrambles by country and region. Furthermore, the Government is concerned about overall recent Chinese military conduct that heightens tensions in the seas surrounding Japan, such as the recent intrusion of a Chinese Navy military vessel into the contiguous zone near the Senkaku Islands, followed by the passage of the information-gathering vessel through Japan’s territorial waters and contiguous zone, and the peculiar passage by a vessel in the sea south of the Senkaku Islands. Given this situation, the Government of Japan will continue to take all measures to engage in warning and surveillance in the seas and airspace in the vicinity of Japan and will implement strict anti-territory intrusion measures in accordance with international law and the Self-Defense Forces Act.


REPORTER: This morning the Government and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) have held an emergency meeting relating to the UK’s exit from the EU. Can I ask what the purpose of the meeting was, and what was discussed?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: This morning’s meeting was the second Emergency Government-BOJ Meeting on Stabilizing Financial Markets following the decision in the UK to exit the EU. In this second meeting reports were made to the Prime Minister concerning market conditions in the wake of the decision that the UK will exit from the EU, and it was confirmed that further meetings will be held on a regular basis. In that sense it was not a special meeting. In the meeting the Prime Minister instructed Minister Aso to continue to pay close attention to financial and currency market movements, cooperate closely with the other G7 nations and make the necessary economic and financial responses in a flexible manner. He also requested the BOJ Governor to continue to support financial intermediary functions through the provision of ample funds. That was the content of today’s meeting.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different matter. Mr. Donald Trump, the confirmed Republican Party candidate for the United States presidential election, has announced that he would withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Ms. Hilary Clinton, the confirmed Democratic Party candidate is also opposed to the TPP. Does the Government not have any concerns about what will happen to the TPP when one of these candidates becomes United States president?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: I have noted before that I would like to refrain from commenting on statements made by United States presidential candidates. In November last year the leaders of the 12 countries participating in the TPP, including the United States, confirmed at a summit meeting their intention to expedite the approval of the agreement in their respective countries. I am aware that President Obama is currently working to achieve the passage of the TPP through Congress by the end of this year and with Japan also taking the initiative in moves to approve the TPP momentum is increasing towards its expeditious approval. The Government expects that each country, including the United States, will move forward responsibly to gain domestic support and implement the required processes, as has been confirmed by the countries concerned.


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