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Japan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Secretary Norio Hattori
Response of the Japanese Government to the Terrorist Attacks
September 25, 2001

PRESS SECRETARY NORIO HATTORI: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Before I entertain your questions, I think this is a good occasion for me to give you an overview of Japan's efforts and activities regarding the terrorist attacks in the United States of America.

First of all, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is now in the United States, and before going to Washington D. C. he visited the World Trade Center site in New York. Prime Minister Koizumi is expected to meet with President George W. Bush later tonight (Japan Time). In that meeting, Prime Minister Koizumi is expected to brief President Bush on the Japanese contribution to the worldwide efforts to fight terrorism, particularly the seven points that Prime Minister Koizumi announced on 19 September in Tokyo.

Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiken Sugiura has just left Tokyo for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to meet with the Pakistani leadership. Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura is expected to meet with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan on 27 September. Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura will encourage the Pakistani efforts, as part of the international community, to fight against terrorism. Furthermore, Senior Vice-Minister Sugiura will convey the Japanese Government's decisions on assistance, particularly those in relation to refugees amassed in the territory of Pakistan at this time.

Also, although this has not yet been decided, the Japanese Government is studying the option of sending some senior officials to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

On 23 September, last Sunday, the Japanese Government together with the America-Japan Society Inc. organized a ceremony for all the victims of the terrorist attacks in the United States. The service was very successful, and approximately 3,500 people gathered at the site of the memorial service in Tokyo.

In addition, on 22 September, the Japanese Government decided on some measures enabling it to freeze and restrict the flow of money related to the Taliban and some of the persons related to these terrorist attacks.

On top of these diplomatic activities, on 19 September, Prime Minister Koizumi announced the seven key measures that the Japanese Government will take in response to the terrorist attacks. In order for us to embark on these activities, it will be necessary to enact legislation to implement some of the measures. An extraordinary session of the Diet will start on 27 September, and the Government anticipates that some of the draft legislation will be presented to the Diet in order that these propositions are decided in a swift manner.

QUESTION: Do you think that any failure to pass the legislation, or some of the legislation, could quickly rekindle some of the criticisms that we saw in 1991?

Mr. HATTORI: We had a very valuable experience in 1991, and the activities that we have taken until now and those that we are going to take are based upon reflection on that experience. With regard to the legislation, I anticipate that some of the draft legislation will be presented at the outset of the extraordinary session of the Diet, and we hope that legislation will be decided upon as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Do you have extra information on the restrictions on the money and assets of people related to the attack?

Mr. HATTORI: The measures that we have taken consist of mainly two parts. The first part concerns the regulation of payments; the Government will regulate the transfer of money by, and between, people related to the Taliban through the adoption of a license system for payment to Afghanistan, and also a license system for payment to people related to the Taliban residing in places other than Afghanistan. The second part concerns the regulation of capital transactions; the Government will implement a license system for all transactions of the Taliban and related people. This has already been in effect since 22 September. These measures are based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1333.

QUESTION: The United States says that it is now in a state of war against terrorism. Is Japan also in the same state of war?

Mr. HATTORI: I do not know if it is appropriate to use the word "war", but this is a great challenge to the freedom and democracy of the entire international community. The United States has been attacked by terrorism, and it is acting on the basis of its right to self-defense--and we are fully supporting the United States, together with other countries of the international community.

QUESTION: There are also some reports suggesting that America might attack in other parts of the world, as Hezbollah bases in Lebanon. Is Japan going to support America in these kinds of attacks?

Mr. HATTORI: I do not think it is appropriate for me to make any comments on hypothetical cases.

QUESTION: You mentioned that the Government is considering sending senior officials to Iran and Saudi Arabia, do you have any idea of what level of official and the timeframe?

Mr. HATTORI: Actually, I do not have any information on the level of the officials going there. I hope that it will be decided and made public either today or tomorrow.

QUESTION: In addition to the emergency grant aid to Pakistan, is Japan considering providing material assistance or any other kind of assistance to the country?

Mr. HATTORI: First of all, you are correct that we have decided to extend US$40 million, a cash grant, as the first stage of our assistance in order to alleviate the burden falling on Pakistan due to the influx of refugees into that country. At this point in time, I am not in a position to announce any new measures. Everything is dependent on the development of the situation; I anticipate that should there be any future movement of refugees that surpasses our estimate, then it may be possible and necessary for us to take other measures.

QUESTION: Do you have any update about how many Japanese victims there are?

Mr. HATTORI: The number of missing persons has not changed--24 Japanese are missing. At the peak, there were about 120 Japanese families, or family members, that went to New York: half of that number has returned to Tokyo and less than half remain in New York.

QUESTION: There have been many reports circulating in Japan that so-called Bin Laden followers are in the country on forged passports. Do you have any background or information?

Mr. HATTORI: In the budget committee that was held last week, the Director General of the National Police Agency in charge of this affair responded that the police authorities are now investigating this. We do not have any additional information to supply on this.

QUESTION: Nobody has been arrested?

Mr. HATTORI: No, not yet.

QUESTION: But you know the people in question and exactly where they are?

Mr. HATTORI: The police may know, but I personally do not.

QUESTION: Briefly, if I may, I would like to ask a little about Japan's participation, or possible participation, in the retaliation against the terrorist attacks. Is there any plan for a proposal to have Self-Defense Forces, or will it possibly be included in the legislation proposed, establish medical institutions, such as hospitals or clinics in the battlefield or in combat zones, or give some other kind of medical support?

Mr. HATTORI: Given that the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) are not supposed to go to the battlefield, whatever activities the SDF undertake, they will not be on the battlefield; whatever activities the SDF undertake will be carried out in the rear areas.

QUESTION: Including medical activities?

Mr. HATTORI: Yes, including medical activities.

QUESTION: How about carrying injured out of the battlefield?

Mr. HATTORI: Those points will be debated and discussed in the Diet.

QUESTION: Does the Constitution allow Japanese forces to be in the rear area to solve international conflicts by force?

Mr. HATTORI: The Constitution does not allow the use of force in order to resolve international conflicts. Whatever we are going to do will, of course, be within the framework of the Constitution.

QUESTION: So staying in the rear area is within the framework of the Constitution?

Mr. HATTORI: It is--we have the legislation regarding situations in areas surrounding Japan.

QUESTION: I would like to ask you a question on a different issue, the visit next week of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to Japan. Could you explain who he will be seeing and how the Japanese Government views his visit?

Mr. HATTORI: First of all, we are very pleased to receive President Thabo Mbeki of the Republic of South Africa as a state guest to this country. If I am permitted, I will give you some of my personal experience with South Africa. In 1995, immediately after the first democratically held elections, I led the first Japanese Government official mission to South Africa. At that time, I was Deputy-Director General of the official development assistance department and my mission was to formulate a Japanese assistance package to South Africa, and I had the pleasure of meeting with the Foreign Minister and other dignitaries.

There are two elements: One is the international aspect and the other is the bilateral aspect. With regard to the multilateral aspect of President Mbeki's visit, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori made the first visit to Africa by a Prime Minister of Japan early this year and his first stop was South Africa. As one of the major pillars of our diplomacy for the twenty-first century, we have taken up Africa as one of the most important diplomatic agendas. For Japan. On top of that, as you know, we have been organizing the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) for several years, and that also demonstrates how much importance the Japanese Government has been putting on development and cooperation with South Africa and Africa as a whole.

We understand that President Mbeki took the initiative in putting forward a program for the rebirth of Africa, the New African Initiative (NAI), which was endorsed by the Organization for African Unity (OAU) in July of this year and which also received a blessing at the G8 Summit in Genova. We are very much expecting to exchange views with President Mbeki, particularly with regard to this initiative.

With regard to the bilateral aspect, seventy percent of Japanese investment in Africa and fifty percent of Japanese trade with Africa is with South Africa; those figures also demonstrate the value and the magnitude of our bilateral relationship. Thus, we would like to try to enhance the already flourishing bilateral relations between our two countries.

QUESTION: Could you just say who he will be seeing while he is here?

Mr. HATTORI: President Mbeki will hold summit talks with Prime Minister Koizumi and, of course, he is going to meet with Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan.

END