Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 12:45 p.m. 2nd Floor Cabinet Room, Main Building, Diet Building
Outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in China
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Firstly, the chartered plane will fly today. We have sought all possible arrangements, including dispatching a chartered plane, for repatriating Japanese residents of Hubei Province, and coordination for all aspects has been advanced so that all Japanese nationals who wish to return to Japan can do so quickly. I held a telephone talk with State Councilor Wang Yi on January 26, the day before yesterday. I requested support for all Japanese nationals who wish to return to Japan to be able to do so, received his understanding, and specific coordination has been advanced for this.
For this recent coordination, there was communication from the Chinese side that preparation was completed to receive a chartered plane and that transportation to get to the airport had been ensured. The first aircraft will thus be dispatched to Wuhan Airport tonight, and we also decided to deliver relief supplies, including masks, protective clothing, and other materials, to Chinese people and Japanese residents of the affected areas. The chartered plane is scheduled to depart from Wuhan Airport tomorrow morning and return to Haneda Airport within the same morning.
About 200 people will be able to board the plane this time. As of this morning, about 650 people want to return to Japan. Coordination is being conducted to arrange chartered planes and other methods from tomorrow for the additional people who want to return to Japan. In any event, we will continue to firmly cooperate with China and related ministries and agencies, including for movement within the affected areas, in order for all Japanese nationals who wish to return to Japan to be able to do so quickly.
Reporter: What time of tonight?
Minister MOTEGI: A certain time has not been decided yet, but I believe that the plane will depart Japan at midnight and leave from China at dawn.