Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, July 5, 2016, 7:29 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The government plane carrying the bodies of the seven victims and their families just returned to Japan. I received them at Haneda Airport, and offered flowers as an expression of my sorrow. I renewed my feelings that it was most regrettable that those who were devoting their utmost efforts at the very frontlines of international cooperation had their lives taken away by an atrocious act of terrorism, and as I received them at the airport, I again felt deep sorrow and strong indignation.
Upon receiving the initial report that Japanese nationals may have been involved in an incident of shooting and hostage-taking by despicable terrorists, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded in every way possible and taken all necessary measures, including the dispatch of Mr. Seiji Kihara, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, to Dhaka, but it is most regrettable that the incident ended with this outcome.
Such acts of terrorism that take the lives of innocent people cannot be tolerated for any reason. We consider that the press statement issued by the United Nations Security Council under Japanese leadership shows the collective will of the international community to strongly condemn this heinous and cowardly terrorist attack. Japan considers it necessary to work in even closer cooperation with the international community to ensure that such a tragedy never occurs again. Furthermore, I believe that we must leverage the full capacity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and overseas diplomatic missions to do everything within our power to secure the safety of Japanese nationals. We must steadily implement the Action Plan on Countering Terrorism that was agreed on at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit and reinforce counterterrorism measures in Asia in particular. Those are my thoughts.
Reporter: It is my understanding that you exchanged words with the families for about 30 minutes this morning after they arrived at Haneda. What did you talk about?
Minister Kishida: There were some family members who did not go to Dhaka and waited in Japan. Then, the family members who had gone to Dhaka returned to Japan. I met with the family members, and many of them showed great fatigue. They did not have many words to say, and it was my impression that they were all under enormous physical and emotional strain. Seeing them in that manner, I felt a renewed sense of deep and profound sadness, and strong indignation.
Reporter: You offered flowers and a silent prayer at the airport. What words did you express in your heart?
Minister Kishida: First, I expressed my heartfelt sorrow. Those who had devoted their utmost efforts on the very frontlines of the international community and international cooperation had been involved in such an act of terrorism that ended with this deplorable outcome. I offered my sincere respect for the strong will and noble ideals of these people for the development of Bangladesh. I also felt that the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must carefully tend to the bereaved families. It is with these sentiments that I offered the flowers.
Reporter: What does the Government have in mind specifically for the families going forward?
Minister Kishida: We must continue to carefully tend to the families. We have assigned our personnel to each family, and it is our intention to do everything within our power to tend to the families going forward.
Reporter: May I ask Mr. Kihara a question? What was your impression from actually going to Dhaka? Also, could you tell us a little more about how everyone appeared during the flight back to Japan?
State Minister Kihara: The Government of Bangladesh has decreed two days of mourning there. While we in Japan are of course in mourning, Bangladesh as a whole is also experiencing profound grief. As for the families, they went to see their loved ones under very difficult and painful circumstances, but showed great perseverance. I wish to reiterate my gratitude and respect for the families. With regard to the flight, since it was very important to ensure that the family members could spend time with their loved ones without distraction, we took steps to enable the family members to pass the time that way going forward, beginning with the flight home.