Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Friday, January 30, 2015, 8:42 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

Hostage incident of Japanese nationals in Syria

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Where the hostage incident involving Japanese nationals is concerned, there are gatherings and demonstrations occurring in Jordan calling for the prompt release of the Jordanian air force pilot being held hostage by ISIL. Today is Friday. Friday prayers will be held, and today is also the birthday of His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein of Jordan. In view of these circumstances, we have issued spot information to warn and ensure the safety of Japanese citizens in Jordan. Alongside that, we will ask the Government of Jordan to enhance security measures at diplomatic missions and other facilities.

Hostage incident of Japanese nationals in Syria

Fujita, Fuji TV: I get the impression that the group of perpetrators are issuing new demands one after the other, every day. Were any new instructions issued by the Prime Minister this morning? You have just now mentioned ensuring safety, and there are various other things, but were any new instructions or other directives issued by the Prime Minister?

Minister Kishida: The situation continues to change, and so he has instructed us to stay constantly vigilant.

Fujita, Fuji TV: Yesterday Mr. Goto’s wife issued a new message, and emails received by her were made open to the public, including emails from the perpetrators. When did the government become aware of that message?

Minister Kishida: I am aware that a message was made, including voice recording and on Twitter. We remain in close contact with Mr. Goto’s wife.

Fujita, Fuji TV: In that message, Mr. Goto’s wife revealed that she had been receiving emails from the perpetrators, and it appears she decided to speak out because she felt she had received the final email. Her message included that she had received an email purporting to be a final notice from the perpetrators. When did the Government become aware of that content?

Minister Kishida: I am not immediately aware of what you are referring to as the final email, but since Mr. Kenji Goto went missing in November, the Government has been in close contact with Mr. Goto’s wife. And because the situation continues to change, we intend to do its utmost in order to have Mr. Goto released.

Fujita, Fuji TV: The perpetrators are employing various tactics to throw the negotiations off balance, using Mr. Goto’s wife, but how is the Government responding to this?

Minister Kishida: We are not in a position to comment on what the perpetrators’ aims are, but in any event, we must continue to do our utmost to ensure his safe release.

Makita, Kyodo Press: At what point did the Prime Minister tell you to continue to respond with a sense of vigilance?

Minister Kishida: It was when I reported the latest situation to the Prime Minister and the Chief Cabinet Secretary after the Cabinet Council meeting.

Matsumoto, Jiji Press: The Government of Japan is in the position of being in close contact with the Government of Jordan toward freeing Mr. Goto, but what sorts of communications with the Government of Jordan side are taking place specifically regarding Mr. Goto’s release? Also, what sort of feeling is the Government of Japan getting in terms of the Jordanian side’s reaction to the Japanese side’s requests for cooperation?

Minister Kishida: Naturally I have to refrain from making comments on specific communications or content. However, we are in close contact with the Government of Jordan, and I am aware that the Government of Jordan side is also cooperating with the Japanese side in sharing information or making communication.

Kubo, Reuters: As of last evening, is there any new information that you can make public?

Minister Kishida: There is nothing major to report in particular.

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