Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Monday, February 10, 2020, 5:35 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: In regard to the novel coronavirus, four chartered flights have been dispatched thus far and the majority of people who wished to return to Japan have been repatriated. Coordination has now started for dispatching a fifth chartered flight.
Following this fifth chartered flight, the Government of Japan will end its operation of repatriation by chartered planes for the time being.
We would like Japanese residents in China to be fully aware of the operation of this fifth flight. As part of this, it has been announced slightly ahead of schedule. Coordination is being advanced to operate the fifth flight after this weekend at the earliest.
We would like Japanese nationals living in Hubei Province and the companies to which they belong to urgently consider repatriation aboard the fifth flight. I would like to request your understanding and cooperation. That is all from me.
Reporter: Do you still not know roughly how many people there are?
Minister MOTEGI: I have just announced the fifth flight, and we will make contact with people in the affected area through their various companies and other methods and also communicate on the MOFA website that the chartered flights will probably be stopped after the fifth flight. In terms of how many people wish to return to Japan, at present, I believe that it will probably be a lower number than when the four previous flights were implemented.
Reporter: It is being reported that the man in his 60s who died in Wuhan was confirmed to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Can you please tell us what the Government of Japan knows about this case and if that is true?
Minister MOTEGI: I believe that if you listen carefully to what the Government of China is saying in interviews, they are not necessarily announcing that. In any event, we are currently confirming the facts of the matter. The people concerned at the hospital where the man passed away have stated that they highly suspect that the man had the novel coronavirus, but pointed out that it is difficult to conclusively determine this. We have received explanation that his death was due to viral pneumonia. We will continue to provide necessary support to his family.