(* This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)
Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura
Date: Sunday, March 16, 2008, 3:40 p.m.
Place: In Takamatsu City
- Situation in Tibet
There are media reports indicating that the Chinese police authorities have entered the Lhasa district in Tibet and that there have been at least 30 casualties. Please state the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in light of this situation.
We are extremely concerned and are watching the situation carefully with concern. We have expressed those concerns to a Minister at the Chinese Embassy here in Tokyo from the Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. At the same time, a similar message was conveyed from our Minister at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing to the Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and in particular we requested that efforts be made to ensure the protection of all Japanese nationals. In any event, I hope that all parties involved will act calmly in order to ensure that there will absolutely not be any further casualties or injuries.
With the approaching Beijing Olympics, it seems that the international community has more and more concerns about the human rights situation in China. What is your response to such concerns?
At the current point in time, we have still not been able to verify all of the factual events related to this situation, and as such we are carefully watching developments with concern. We are particularly concerned about any increases in casualties or injuries, and hope that every possible effort be made to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals.
How do you think this will influence the Olympics?
We hope that the Chinese side will also think carefully in order to ensure that this does not have any influence on the Olympics.
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