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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #220: June 1, 2004

Family identifies body of slain journalist

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

"Family identifies body of slain journalist"
(Kyodo) The Japan Times

Related Article:
"Wish of journalists killed in Iraq to come true"
Yomiuri Shimbun


The article reports the developments after two Japanese journalists were informed to be attacked and killed on their way to Baghdad in a car, that one of the bodies was identified but the other needs dental and DNA tests to confirm.

Some articles with regard to the incident, especially those originated outside Japan, carries, as if it were a matter of course, a comment, similar to the one seen in the BBC report saying, "The latest attack may renew unease at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's decision to send Japanese troops to Iraq, where they perform humanitarian duties." But there is no such sign here in Japan.

It was in early April, when three Japanese civilians were kidnapped in Iraq, and a video message was delivered demanding Japan's SDF troops to leave Iraq. The families of the hostages, and certain media and commentators, fiercely attacked the Prime Minister Koizumi and his government, accusing Mr Koizumi being responsible for the cause and consequences of the incident and the fate of the hostages. The family members demanded the government to obey whatever the desires of the kidnappers, including recalling of SDF troops back home.

At first, out of sympathy and for being caught by surprise, the Japanese public seemed to accord with the family members in accusing Mr Koizumi for sending SDF to Iraq. But as the speeches by the family members of the hostages became more and more abusive, and the stories were circulated of their being possibly guided by extreme activists opposing the Koizumi government, people began to sober up, and began to recognize there was really no direct causal link between the SDF troops and the kidnapping. The people's sentiment thus swung back and backfired, accusing this time the family members for their rude and demanding attitude of not even acknowledging the fact that the risks were originally and willingly taken by the hostage. By the time the hostages were returned after a week or so, the people's feeling had turned harsh, toward not only the family members but also the victims themselves, who, after being released from the gunpoint of the kidnappers, had to face condemnations from the people in their home country.

It is uncertain as to if people, above all the general public, had learned a listen. But this time, upon the news of the two reporters getting killed, there is no-one in Japan who has made any comment with regard to holding Mr Koizumi responsible to the incident, or linking the killing to the operations of the SDF. It was a tragedy, and the killers should to be punished despite whatever belief or cause the murder was based upon, but the reporters were fully aware of the risks in starting the venture, and it was the adverse fate that overtook them.

The related article introduced above reports of a 10-year-old Iraqi boy with an injured eye, who has been supported by the killed journalist, and is arriving in Japan later in the week for his eye to be treated here.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications