Press Conference by the Deputy Press Secretary, 14 January 2010

  1. Earthquake disaster in Haiti
  2. Dispatch of election observers to the presidential election of Ukraine
  3. Questions concerning the earthquake disaster in Haiti
  4. Questions concerning the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan New Treaty
  5. Final press briefing by Deputy Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura

  1. Earthquake disaster in Haiti
  2. Deputy Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura: Good afternoon and welcome.
    I have two announcements at the beginning. The first is the earthquake in Haiti. We express our deepest sorrow and sympathy for the Government and the people of Haiti, who suffered a large-scale earthquake yesterday. We are following the latest information from there, including the number of casualties, but we recognize now that the situation there is very serious, and Japan is examining how effectively and expeditiously we can provide assistance to the people in Haiti.

    Related Information (Japan-Haiti Relations )
    Related Information (Disaster Prevention and Relief)

  3. Dispatch of election observers to the presidential election of Ukraine
  4. Mr. Kawamura: Second is the dispatch of election observers to the presidential election of Ukraine. The Government of Japan has decided to assign six members of the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine as election observers to support fair conduct of the presidential election of Ukraine, which is scheduled for January 17, Sunday. Two of them are to be dispatched to the major international election observation mission, organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe / the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), while four members are to be registered at the Central Election Commission of Ukraine as observers of the Government of Japan for their relevant monitoring activities.
    The upcoming presidential election will be held upon the expiration of the term of Mr. Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine, and will be the first presidential election since the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine in December 2004. Free and fair conduct of the upcoming election is of critical importance to the conservation of democracy of Ukraine. Thus, more than 600 observers are to be dispatched from major countries to the International Election Observation Mission of OSCE/ODIHR.
    That's all from me. Now I would like to take your questions.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  5. Questions concerning the earthquake disaster in Haiti
  6. Q: I would like to ask about the Haiti situation. You mentioned that you are right now examining the situation in Haiti. Is somebody there right now from Japan - a Japanese official or a member of the Red Cross - in Haiti examining the situation? Can you elaborate?

    Mr. Kawamura: First of all we have an embassy in Haiti, and including their families there are nine embassy-related people. They are now collecting information around the clock, and we are trying to be in close contact with them. We have about 20 Japanese residents in Haiti, including the nine embassy staff and their families. So far we have not got information about casualties regarding those Japanese residents in Haiti. We are collecting the latest information.

    Q: After your Embassy people collect the information, what is next? What process do you have to go through?

    Mr. Kawamura: It is ongoing, the collection of information and examination of the situation. As I said in the beginning, the situation seems to be very serious, so we are examining the possibility of providing effective assistance in an expeditious way, including personnel assistance, but we need to elaborate this further.

    Q: Is the Japanese Self-Defense Force for example already on the way, or preparing with their gear, so that whenever they are told to get moving they are ready to go?

    Mr. Kawamura: We need a little bit more time to come out with a concrete assistance plan for Haiti. We will make an announcement when we reach the consensus among the relevant Government agencies.

    Q: Because some countries are already there. For instance, I believe that China has already sent their relief team. So it would be good for Japan to show its presence.

    Mr. Kawamura: In the past similar cases of natural disasters in the other hemisphere I think we have enjoyed a good reputation of quick and effective assistance provision. I think we will follow that path. We are currently examining the possibility seriously.

    Q: According to some press reports one representative of the Japanese Red Cross left today for Haiti to evaluate the situation. Can you confirm that, and is the Japanese Government waiting for his evaluation?

    Mr. Kawamura: I need to confirm with my staff whether this is the case. If this should be the case I think the Japanese Embassy could be prepared for the reception of such an expert team from the Red Cross. Let me confirm that and get back to you later.

    Q: A little bit more about the disaster. In the case of, for instance, Indonesia, if there is a big quake there, Japan has a stockpile in Singapore. So from there they dispatch all sorts of relief goods. But in that area, in the Haiti area, is there a place where Japan has relief goods?

    Mr. Kawamura: Yes, there is. I understand there is a stockpile station in Miami, Florida, in the United States, so I think the philosophy is the same as in the case of Singapore, that they should cover the region, including the Central and Latin American countries.

    Q: Do you know how long it would take to transport the assistance from Miami to Haiti? Is it hours?

    Mr. Kawamura: I need to confirm, but we have air transportation systems, so I think it doesn’t take so long from Miami to get there. The question is, as I understand, the communication situation in Haiti. It seems to have been very badly damaged, so we need to secure a very sound communication system first of all. Then we will prepare the necessary schedule so that the cargo, materials, or the personnel, should be there in a timely manner, at the same time effectively. But we have to check in what kind of condition the airport and communication systems are now so that we could have very effective delivery of the emergency relief services.

    Q: About the Haiti situation, regarding the nine embassy people, who I guess you have confirmed are safe...

    Mr. Kawamura: They are safe, yes, the embassy people and their families.

    Q: We are hearing reports that a lot of foreigners in Haiti have been killed or at least hurt. Do you have any idea what sort of situation your embassy people were in? For instance, they are from Japan, so maybe they were equipped with enough safety systems?

    Mr. Kawamura: Sorry I don’t have exactly responsive information, but I can tell you that our embassy chancery building has also suffered serious damage. The embassy staff and their families are all right so far, and they are engaging themselves with confirming the safety of the Japanese residents and the information about the situation of the whole country.

    Related Information (Japan-Haiti Relations )
    Related Information (Disaster Prevention and Relief)

  7. Questions concerning the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan New Treaty
  8. Q: A completely different question - January 19, I believe, is the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan new treaty. I was wondering if something will happen on that day, in terms of issuing a declaration or a statement of some sort.

    Mr. Kawamura: Yes, you are very right. You may recall yesterday in Honolulu, Foreign Minister Okada and Secretary of State Clinton of the United States held a joint press conference, and in the press conference the Foreign Minister and Secretary of State confirmed their agreement to make an effort to issue some statement on the day of January 19, which will mark the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the revised Japan-US Security Treaty. The fundamental message to be contained in the joint statement will be both governments’ commitment to deepening of the alliance in such a way to accommodate the demands of the 21st century as well as their appreciation of the achievements made by the previous 50 years of the security alliance between Japan and the United States. As Minister Okada said yesterday the process of the alliance enrichment effort has already started, and we are going to make our utmost efforts so that we can issue the statement on the 19th.

    Q: Will this be from the Japanese Foreign Minister, or will it be from the Japanese Prime Minister?

    Mr. Kawamura: Yesterday the two ministers said that the joint statement would be made by the 2+2 ministers, so in principle the Foreign Minister and Defense Minister on the Japanese side, and on the US side the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, will be in charge.
    For your information that is a statement, but based upon that the Foreign Minister and Secretary of State also agreed that it would initiate a process of 2+2. The purpose of the 2+2 in this context is to deepen the Japan-US security alliance, looking over the next 30 to 50 years. They also agreed that in the appropriate timing of the first half of this year, 2010, they will hold a 2+2 ministerial meeting. Foreign Minister Okada at the press conference said that we, Japan and the United States, have already kicked off the process.

    Related Information (Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements)

  9. Final press briefing by Deputy Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura
  10. Mr. Kawamura: If there are no further questions, at the very last I have to announce that today will be the last day of my service as deputy press secretary, and from tomorrow my replacement is expected to fulfill the duty.  I thank you for your cooperation during my tenure as deputy press secretary, and I very much look forward to working closely with you again somewhere in the near future. I will continue to commit myself to transmitting the Japanese Government's view and policies in the coming years as well. I hope that we will keep in close touch, and wish you, who are here and who meet me in the web as well, all the best. Thank you again and good-bye.

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