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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 05, 1985

PROBLEM OF THE RELEASE OF THE AMERICAN HOSTAGES (MAIN POINTS OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS)

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    This document is the main points of questions and answers in preparation for Japanese Special Envoy Nakayama’s visit to Syria to persuade the Syrian government to assist in the release of the American hostages in Lebanon.
    "Problem of the Release of the American Hostages (Main Points of Questions and Answers)," August 05, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, File No. 2017-0631. Translated by Stephen Mercado. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/280676
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(Main Points of Questions and Answers)

1. (If asked whether our request is based on a request from the United States)

It is true that the United States is greatly concerned and frustrated over the matter of the hostages, but this request of ours is one that Prime Minister Nakasone is making on his own judgment and initiative.

[TN: First version, crossed out, reads: “The United States is greatly concerned and frustrated over the matter of the hostages, and this frustration of the United States has an undesirable effect globally as well. Our side’s request, from the viewpoint of our country’s national interest in light of Japan-US relations, is one that Prime Minister Nakasone is making on his own initiative.”]

2. (If asked whether we are making the same approach to other countries)

We have made a similar approach to the Iranian government.

3. (If asked regarding our side’s view concerning the US move related to suspending use of the Beirut airport)

Our country thinks it necessary to consider carefully the measure of closing the Beirut airport. Our country has heard that the Lebanese government is strengthening the Beirut airport’s security measures; we hope that this is realized immediately. Also, we hope that effective measures for the prevention of hijackings will be issued from the ICAO [International Civilian Aviation Organization] and other forums.

4. (If there is expressed the view that the seven American hostages prevent the United States from retaliating for the TWA incident)

Our side has always held the position that retaliation by force does not contribute to the resolution of problems. If necessary, we intend to appeal to the United States as well not to carry out retaliation by force.

5. (If it is said that it is regrettable that Israel has not carried out the release of the Shia prisoners)

(1) We are aware that Israel had planned, before the TWA incident took place, to release the Shia prisoners. On this basis, Israel has released over 400 of them and, we think, is going to release the remaining prisoners.

(2) If the release of the prisoners is delayed, we would wish to suggest to the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister that they appeal to Israel and the United States for their immediate release.

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