A Soldiers Blog

Search Site search web

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Japan refuses to withdraw troops from Iraq as hostage faces execution

Japan refuses to withdraw troops from Iraq as hostage faces execution
Updated: 2004-10-27 20:42

Japan insisted it would not bow to the demands of Islamic militants in Iraq who threatened to behead a young Japanese unless Tokyo withdraws its troops from the country within 48 hours.

Masumi Koda, father of Shosei Koda, identified as the Japanese man taken hostage and threatened to be beheaded by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Iraq, speaks to reporters with his weeping wife Setsuko outside their home in Nogata, southern Japan October 27, 2004. [Reuters]
"The Self-Defence Forces will not withdraw," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a staunch US ally, said as he went ahead with a tour of typhoon damage in western Japan. "We must not bow to terrorism."

The al-Qaeda-linked group of Iraq's most wanted man Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi released a video overnight on the Internet of a shaggy-haired Japanese-speaking man in a white T-shirt, at the feet of three armed and masked men.

"We are giving the Japanese government 48 hours in which to withdraw its troops from Iraq, otherwise this infidel will join the others (executed)," a militant said in the video.

Among the others, the militant mentioned the American Nicholas Berg and Briton Kenneth Bigley, who were both decapitated.

The Japanese man said on the video: "Mr Koizumi, they demand the Japanese government withdraw the Japanese Self-Defence Forces from Iraq or they will chop off my head.

"I'm sorry, but I want to come back to Japan," he said unemotionally in Japanese.

Japan identified the hostage as Shosei Koda, a 24-year-old from southern Fukuoka province who "has been wandering around many countries", said Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, the government spokesman.

Koda had been in New Zealand on a working holiday until July but had not been in contact since, his father said, according to the foreign ministry.

The incident marked the second hostage crisis faced by Koizumi, a close supporter of US President George W. Bush, since his historic decision to deploy troops to Iraq despite widespread domestic opposition.

In April militants kidnapped three Japanese aid workers and two journalists in Iraq but they were released unharmed after days
Japan refuses to withdraw troops from Iraq as hostage faces execution

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!