Extraordinary Press Conference by State Minister Seiji Kihara
Saturday, July 2, 2016, 4:28 p.m. Narita Airport
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Reporter: What measures will you first be taking?
Mr. Seiji Kihara, State Minister for Foreign Affairs: In relation to the recent incident in which a restaurant was attacked and hostages were taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Kishida has instructed me to fly to Dhaka. Therefore, I am now heading to Dhaka. Prime Minister Abe has already held a telephone talk with Prime Minister Hasina. As a result of rescue operations, 13 people have been rescued, 3 of whom are foreign nationals, including 1 Japanese national. However, the overall situation remains unclear. First I will head to Dhaka and make utmost efforts to gather information and confirm the facts. At the same time, in light of the fact that one Japanese national was rescued, I will ensure that all necessary arrangements are made for said Japanese national. In any case, I will first engage in information gathering in close cooperation with the relevant countries, while continuing to place the top priority on protecting people’s lives.
Reporter: There are still a number of Japanese nationals with whom no contact has been made. What is the current situation? Have you received any information prior to your departure?
State Minister Kihara: I apologize but, as the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary reported, at this point in time, all we know is that one Japanese national was rescued and that there were seven other Japanese nationals in the restaurant with that Japanese national. I am now heading to Dhaka and intend to thoroughly gather information on the matter.
Reporter: I believe conflicting information exists. On what efforts will you and the Government be placing the top priority?
State Minister Kihara: Above all, we are placing the utmost emphasis and priority on protecting people’s lives. We do not have a full grasp of the overall situation, including with regard to the other seven Japanese nationals. In any case, we will thoroughly confirm the facts regarding the other persons and do our utmost to rescue them.
Reporter: Following the previous incident in Algeria, this time the Government has established and dispatched a dedicated team for this incident. Could you once again explain who the members are and what the aim is?
State Minister Kihara: State Minister Kihara: As has been explained, all members of the Counter Terrorism Unit - Japan have already headed to Dhaka. The Emergency Response Team of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also headed to Dhaka. Additionally, from the Ministry, members of the Consular Affairs Bureau and consular staff from nearby diplomatic missions have also headed to Dhaka. We will firstly place priority on and exert utmost efforts for information gathering.
Reporter: Will you join up with the dedicated team in Dhaka?
State Minister Kihara: I will of course do so. A response headquarters has already been established in Dhaka and I believe all members will join together there.