(* 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 Koichiro Gemba

Date: Thursday, December 22, 2011, 3:36 p.m.
Place: MOFA Press Conference Room

Main topics:

  1. Opening Remarks
    • (1) Sanctions on Syria
    • (2) Change of schedule for visiting foreign countries

1. Opening Remarks

(1) Sanctions on Syria

Minister Gemba: Let me begin by speaking on two issues. First one is the sanctions on Syria. Starting in the middle of March this year, anti-government demonstrations broke out in various regions of Syria and the conflicts with the country’s security force have led to a large number of casualties. In spite of the repeated requests by the international community including Japan, the Syrian government is still continuing with their crackdown, causing the death and injuries of many civilians. According to the report by the U.N., the death toll has exceeded 5,000.
In order to contribute to the global efforts for solving the problem of Syria, I have obtained an approval at today’s Cabinet meeting for expanding the scope of asset freezing targeted at those related to the Syrian government.

(2) Change of schedule for visiting foreign countries

Now the second issue. I have mentioned to you earlier that I will be visiting Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia from Sunday, December 25 to Thursday, December 29. However, this schedule has been shortened and I will be visiting only Myanmar from Sunday, December 25 to Tuesday, December 27 .
This decision was made by taking all the circumstances into consideration, including the instruction from Prime Minister Noda that we have to take all possible measures in view of the present situation.
In Myanmar, I will pay a courtesy call on President Thein Sein and meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to solidify its democratization and national reconciliation.

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