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Japanese 'held hostage' in Iraq

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The Arabic television station al-Jazeera has shown footage of three Japanese civilians it said were taken hostage by an Iraqi group.

The group, calling itself the Mujahideen Brigades, said it would kill the hostages unless Tokyo withdrew its troops from the country.

The TV said the hostages include a journalist and an aid worker.

Eight South Korean church ministers are also reported to have been detained by an unnamed Iraqi group.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said one had since been released.

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Worst thing you can do is give in.

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Heard a report on the radio that the Japanese PM said they will not withdraw or falter from their mission in Iraq... thumbsup.gif I commend the japanese for their strength and resolve....thanks for the help Japan! thumbsup.gif

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whilst ive disagreed with you on nearly everything you say kellalor an fearfulone i have to agree that in this the worst thing you can do is give in.

Though my reasons are probably different than yours.

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three more japanese inocents killed by a bad decision of their goverment.. sad.gif

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Mekorig...i'd be interested to read, your profile says youre from argentina, what does a country who is relatively away from this all, think of the whole situation? Maybe argentina is not away from it all as i think? huh.gif

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Tokyo stands firm on Iraq commitment despite kidnappers' threats, pleading families

SINGAPORE : Japan is determined not to pull out its troops out from Iraq, despite pleas from relatives of the three Japanese nationals kidnapped in the country.

The abducters have threatened to burn alive their hostages if Japan does not withdraw its troops by Sunday.

Meanwhile at the Japanese forces camping ground in Samawah, more shell bombs have reportedly exploded.

On Friday, protests were staged and tears were shed over the possible execution of three Japanese civilians kidnapped in Iraq.

But even in the face of such mounting pressure to withdraw the 550 Japanese troops from the war-torn country, the government is standing firm in its decision to stay put.

"Are you saying we should give in to them at the first threat they present to us? That's playing into the hands of the terrorists. That is what the terrorists are waiting for us to do," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has vowed that the safe return of the 3 hostages will be his top priority. "We will make maximum efforts to rescue them immediately."

Japan has despatched its senior vice foreign minister and an anti-terrorism team of police officers to Jordan.

From there, they will be acting on the crisis; gathering information on the abductors claiming to be from a group called Saraya al-Mujahideen, and where the hostages may be held.

Families of the hostages flew to Tokyo after harrowing footage of the captivity was broadcast on al-Jazeera TV.

Some 600 protesters also continued to demand that the forces leave Iraq.

"Would the government make such a decision if their son had been taken hostage and was the one kidnapped?" exclaimed protester Rie Kanashiro.

Naoko Imai, mother of hostage Noriaki, said: "I urge the whole nation to help rescue my son and the other hostages. I need their help."

But others say Mr Koizumi has no choice but to take a hardline approach.

"We paid a lot of money to get there. If we leave now, people will wonder what Japan went there to do in the first place," said Katsuo Saito.

Japan's decision to keep the troops in Iraq was hailed by Washington.

And the US has vowed to help the Koizumi government handle the situation, ahead of US Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Japan.

But the clock is ticking on a deadline reportedly set by the kidnappers; that the troops withdraw by Sunday or they will burn the three hostages alive. - CNA

Source

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the Japanese have gone soft since ww2

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the Japanese have gone soft since ww2

But even in the face of such mounting pressure to withdraw the 550 Japanese troops from the war-torn country, the government is standing firm in its decision to stay put.

"Are you saying we should give in to them at the first threat they present to us? That's playing into the hands of the terrorists. That is what the terrorists are waiting for us to do," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda.

How?

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it was a non-serious comment in regards to the crying protestors

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Oh ok. wink2.gif

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Obviously some new tactics of the Terrorist groups.

If they are going to hold people hostage, actually hold people who are of important status. rolleyes.gif

However, I hope these hostages are freed or escape to safety. ph34r.gif

May God save them.

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If they are going to hold people hostage, actually hold people who are of important status. rolleyes.gif

Blue, ***rini shakes her head**

All people are special! 2 of them are aid workers handing out food and medication and the other one is a freelance journalist.

I know to us they don't have names, but they have families, who are at home, worried sick about them. And maybe you don’t have any family or friends in Iraq, but some of us do.

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If they are going to hold people hostage, actually hold people who are of important status.  rolleyes.gif

Blue, ***rini shakes her head**

All people are special! 2 of them are aid workers handing out food and medication and the other one is a freelance journalist.

Oh I understand that Shirini. They deserve to live.

I merely said that on a more tactical perspective.

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Mekorig...i'd be interested to read, your profile says youre from argentina, what does a country who is relatively away from this all, think of the whole situation? Maybe argentina is not away from it all as i think? huh.gif

Well, here in Argentina have two major islamic attacks (agains an israeli enbassy and a jew mutual). A lot of argentines die and we precede to chacht the terrorist. But Irak is diferent. The war was based on a lie, and Bush destroy one of the things that prevented the islamic terrorist in Irak...yes, Saddam. Meybe he use the islamic retoryc, but he and Osama were enemies and both wish each other dead. Now Japan, being the lamb they were, send troops to irak, and his citicenzs pay for their gov mistakes.

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Japan seeks end to hostage crisis

A senior Japanese official has arrived in the Middle East to co-ordinate efforts to rescue three kidnapped Japanese citizens.

Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aisawa said every possible means of freeing the three would be examined.

Japan has refused to withdraw troops from Iraq despite the death threats made against the three.

The insurgents have threatened to burn them alive unless Japan withdraws its forces within three days.

Their families have pleaded with their government to give in to the demands of the Iraqi kidnappers and pull out of Iraq.

But Mr Aisawa said he would seek other ways of resolving the crisis.

"We will try to find every possible way that will help release our people," he said in the Japanese embassy in Amman, Jordan, from where he is co-ordinating the rescue effort.

Japan has been stunned by video footage showing the three hostages blindfolded, and with a gun to their heads.

They are: Noriaki Imai, 18, who had planned to research the effects of depleted uranium weapons; 32-year-old photojournalist Soichiro Koriyama, and aid worker Nahoko Takato, 34.

The most harrowing footage, showing the hostages with knives to their throats and conveying the screams of the female hostage, Nahoko Takato, was not aired on Japanese television.

'No withdrawal'

There is a presumed deadline of 2100 Japan time on Sunday (1200 GMT), but Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is under intense outside pressure not to give in.

US Vice President Dick Cheney arrives in Tokyo on Saturday at the beginning of an Asian tour, and is expected to urge him to stand firm in Iraq.

Japan's top spokesman, Yasuo Fukuda, said the demand to end the country's humanitarian mission was not under consideration.

"That would be doing just what the terrorists want," he said. "We can't be beaten by them."

The BBC's Jonathan Head in Tokyo says that in safe and orderly Japan the kidnappings, by a group calling itself the Mujahideen Brigades, are a source of nationwide anguish.

Mr Koizumi has few options, he says - he can either negotiate or organise a rescue effort.

But the Japanese authorities know virtually nothing about the group behind the kidnapping.

The government cannot be sure how long public opinion in Japan can withstand the agony of a prolonged hostage crisis, our correspondent adds.

It adds up to the toughest test Mr Koizumi has faced. He took a huge political gamble when he made the decision to send 550 troops to Samawah, southern Iraq, earlier this year.

'Image at stake'

The Japanese public is sharply divided over the mission. Critics argue it violates the country's pacifist constitution, especially if the troops are drawn into violence.

JAPAN'S IRAQ MISSION

550 troops in Samawah

Helping to rebuild infrastructure

First time pacifist Japan has sent troops to combat zone

That possibility was underscored on Thursday, when mortars exploded near the troops' base.

But Mr Koizumi would jeopardise Japan's international standing if he pulled out, analysts say.

South Korea, meanwhile, warned its citizens not to go to Iraq, after the abduction of seven South Korean missionaries, who were later released unharmed.

But the government in Seoul said it would go ahead with plans to send 3,600 troops to Iraq.

Source

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