Statement by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the Suicide Bombing in Israel
January 30, 2004
Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, made the following statement on the suicide bombing that occurred in central Jerusalem on the morning of January 29 (Thu) (local time).
- Japan was gravely shocked by the suicide bombing that occurred in central Jerusalem on the morning of January 29 (Thu) (local time) and caused many deaths and injuries. I extend my sincere sympathy for those who died in the incident, condolences to the bereaved families, and heartfelt sympathy to the many injured persons. Terrorism cannot be justified for any reason. Japan reiterates its firm condemnation against brutal terrorist attacks that victimize the lives of many innocent people.
- Japan is deeply concerned that the Middle East peace is making little progress. It is regrettable that the armed attack carried out by the Israeli forces on the Gaza strip on January 28 killed and injured civilians. Japan is strongly concerned that the situation will worsen if the cycle of violence continues.
- To avoid further deterioration of this situation, Japan urges the Palestinian Authority to quickly launch a crackdown on the extremists, which is the most urgent issue facing it, and to produce results steadily. Japan also strongly expects Israel to exercise utmost self-restraint to calm down the situation.
- Serious efforts are being made by the international community to promote peace. Part of these international efforts is the current visit to the Middle East of Ambassador Tatsuo Arima, Japan's Special Envoy for Peace in the Middle East. Japan strongly hopes that both parties concerned will resume dialogue, in response to the concern of the international community, and promote their efforts in accordance to with the "Roadmap".
- On January 29 at 9:00 a.m. local time (Japan time: Jan. 29, 5:00 p.m.), a terrorist carrying a bomb blew up in a local bus near Prime Minister Sharon's official residence in the city of Jerusalem, killing at least ten people and injuring 45. Aqsa Martyr Brigade claimed its responsibility for the explosion. Prime Minister Sharon was safe at the time of the bombing, as he was at home in the Negev.
- In the early morning of January 28 (the day before the incident), the Israeli forces made an incursion into the Gaza strip, killing nine people: five PIJ members and four civilians.
- As part of Japan's efforts, Ambassador Tatsuo Arima, Special Envoy for Peace in the Middle East, has now been in the Middle East since January 23, to work on the people concerned in the peace process, including both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, to promote peace process efforts.
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