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    No word on Japanese hostage

    I’m glad Reuters is pointing this out: The deadline before Shosei Koda, the abducted Japanese citizen, was supposed to be murdered by his kidnappers has passed. The situation is agonizing, and I hope he’s released safely. But not all the Japanese are directing all their outrage at the government:

    The hostage crisis poses a challenge to Koizumi, who is a close ally of President Bush and sent troops to Iraq despite strong public opposition.

    But with many Japanese blaming Koda for putting himself at risk, political fallout might be limited, analysts said.

    Exhausted members of Koda’s family begged for the life of a young man who they said had no ties to Japan’s military, no political agenda and was not in search of personal gain.

    “He is just a warm-hearted person who wanted to see what he could do for peace and help the people of Iraq,” Koda’s brother, Maki, told a news conference.

    By all accounts, Koda was an easy-going, bum-around type–there are a lot of them who wander around Southeast Asia. I don’t think it’s heartlessly blaming the victim to point out that wandering into Iraq from Jordan as an unaffiliated civilian was an extremely bad idea. People seem to be forgoing the opportunity to vent their opposition to Koizumi’s close ties to Bush, which is nice to see. (I’m not saying people who disagree with Japan’s non-combat participation in the Iraq reconstruction should refrain from criticizing it, only that not acknowledging the degree to which Koda imperiled himself would be dishonest.)

    Added at 11:15, 30 October: They think they’ve found Koda’s body. No confirmation yet, though.

    Added at 11:15, 31 October: NHK has just confirmed that Koda’s body was found in Iraq, and I assume the story’s already…yes, on Reuters. The fingerprints match.

    5 Responses to “No word on Japanese hostage”

    1. John says:

      A bunch of people over here commented on the last bunch of Japanese hostages having to pay for their plane ticket home. One of my friends mentioned that the press in Japan were reporting that one of those 3 was a communist, and was in Iraq to spread anti-coalition propaganda. Was there confirmation of this, and what about the other 2?

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I don’t remember all the details, but…the resolutely non-partisan xpat.org in Japan does! All objective-like. The other two were a photojournalist and another aid worker, right? I don’t really remember hearing anything about them after the fact, but I might not have been paying close attention. And I don’t remember seeing confirmation of any of the nasty things said about any of the hostages.
      As far as paying for their own plane ticket home goes, I think the reason given for that was that those taken hostage had ignored an advisory to ordinary Japanese citizens to stay out of Iraq…kind of like billing your family if you off yourself by jumping in front of a train on the Chuo Line. Not that that makes it a kindly thing to do, but Japan determines times when kindness is appropriate different from America. (John knows this; I’m addressing people who aren’t familiar with Japan.)

    3. John says:

      Hmmm. A book about radiation poisoning by depleted uranium. Does the word “depleted” mean anything to people, or should we find another name for the shells, as we did for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging, aka MRI?

    4. John says:

      Re. the Chuo suicides: my company owns a factory located on a long pier (it’s actually a small peninsula). The road makes a sharp right just before our gate. Continuing straight at that point is ill-advised – there is a large cement wall around the plant. At least two people have deliberately crashed their car into it. (Well, I assume it was deliberate to run a car at 120 km / hr into a 4 meter high cement wall.) I wonder if we sent their families the bill?

    5. Sean Kinsell says:

      Nice that you provide non-pharmaceutical solutions to medical problems, too. 😉 Maybe it’s billed to the families as use of medical equipment, like that of an MRI machine.
      Perhaps this is true of people John knows, too, but most of the people I’m seeing on TV and meeting in real life are really, really piling on this guy. On Koda, I mean. Which is understandable, however much one feels sorry for the guy. I don’t remember it having been this bad with the last few groups of hostages, though they, of course, didn’t drift into Baghdad without any plans and after being warned in Amman that it was a stupid idea. None of the bodies that have been found has turned out to be his, so there’s a very slim hope that he’s still alive, in any case.