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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 6, 2016 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: This afternoon Japan time, the Government of the United Kingdom will release the Report of the Iraq Inquiry. Japan also supported the Iraq War. However, the inquiry in Japan ended simply with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) compiling a few page summary of the decision-making process in MOFA at the time. To this day there are people saying that this is inadequate. Does the Government have any intention of conducting another inquiry into Japan’s involvement in the Iraq War?   

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: We are aware that today, July 6, a committee of Privy Counsellors of the United Kingdom will be releasing its final report. Inquiries into the Iraq War are being conducted not only in the United Kingdom but also in other countries in a variety of formats, and our understanding is that they each have different purposes and subjects of inquiry as well as study methodologies. We view that it is not necessarily appropriate to discuss on the same terms the United Kingdom, that will be releasing its final report today, and Japan, that provided only humanitarian assistance and logistics support.

REPORTER: I have a related question. With regard to the situation that has followed the Iraq War, there have been debates on whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and in recent years it has been suggested that the war was one of the factors that gave rise to the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). Can you once again share with us what is the Government’s assessment of this war?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: We consider that at the heart of the Iraq War was the fact that notwithstanding Iraq’s loss of trust of the international community due to its invasion of Kuwait, Iraq continued to violate Security Council resolutions requiring immediate and unconditional acceptance of inspections, and failed to proactively prove it did not have WMDs, even while Iraq had a responsibility to prove the destruction of WMDs by cooperating with the inspections. Even looking back now, the Japanese Government deems that its decision to support the United States’ and other countries’ use of force against Iraq remains valid. The Government’s position is that the use of force against Iraq is justified by the relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 678, 687, and 1441. 

REPORTER: I have a quick question regarding the terror attack in Bangladesh. Some media reported that last October, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) judged that the security situation was worsening in Bangladesh, and therefore, returned 48 volunteer staff to Japan while keeping project staff in the country. What are your thoughts regarding this if any? 

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: I understand that following the murder of a Japanese national in a regional city in Bangladesh last October, JICA evacuated the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers who were dispatched to cities in Bangladesh other than Dhaka. My understanding is that JICA has been taking these and other safety measures, taking into account the local situation, including implementing necessary restriction of activities. In any case, ensuring the safety of official development assistance (ODA) personnel is a major prerequisite for implementing ODA programs. I understand that JICA personnel who are currently in Bangladesh are taking temporary refuge at their homes and other locations, except for those whose jobs require them to be at their offices. The Government, JICA, and private companies will be coordinating with each other in carefully considering the measures that should be taken for protecting the safety of personnel, including contractors to whom work has been outsourced.


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