Security heightened against terrorism Japanese abroad top govt priority

Security heightened against terrorism Japanese abroad top govt priority
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (R) speaks to reporters at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo early on January 28, 2015. Japan has asked Jordan for help after the Islamic State jihadist group threatened to kill a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot within 24 hours unless Amman frees a jailed female militant.

The government has tightened security against terrorism after the militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) made a statement that could be interpreted as meaning all Japanese people will be targets of terrorism.

The government will make the utmost effort to ensure the safety of Japanese citizens living abroad and to prevent terrorism from occurring domestically, according to sources. It is also considering expanding its humanitarian support to the Middle East, not yielding to the terrorists' threats.

Asked about the government's future measures at a press conference on Sunday morning, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated the government's intention to place top priority on ensuring the safety of Japanese overseas, after the militant group posted a new video believed to show the death of hostage Kenji Goto.

In late January, the government had already called for security authorities in relevant countries to enhance the security of Japanese schools, after it instructed Japanese diplomatic missions abroad to ensure the safety of Japanese people living overseas.

According to Suga, the government on Saturday also instructed relevant parties to take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese journalists who are at the border between Syria and Turkey reporting on the crisis, envisioning the possibility they could be targeted by the terrorist group.

The government also intends to raise the terrorism alert level domestically. During the press conference, Suga said the government plans to enhance its information gathering and analytic abilities to prevent terrorism in Japan.

As specific measures, Suga said, "We will prevent the entry of terrorists at the border and tighten security at important facilities such as airports and railways."

Regarding the terrorist group's assertion that Goto's murder was triggered by the fact that Japan is supporting the US-led international coalition of willing nations carrying out military operations against ISIL, Suga stressed again, "Japan will never give in to terrorism."

As more than 10 million evacuees and refugees have fled from Syria and Iraq to surrounding countries to escape ISIL's barbarism, Suga said the government "will expand humanitarian support by providing food, medical services and other necessities to the Middle East."

However, Suga also said the Self-Defence Forces will not provide logistic support for military operations of the international coalition of willing nations, including the United States and Jordan.Speech

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