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3 more Japanese confirmed dead in Algerian hostage crisis
Publication Date : 25-01-2013
The Japanese government has confirmed the deaths of three more Japanese in last week's hostage crisis in Algeria, raising the number of Japanese victims to 10, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has announced.
According to sources, one of the three victims is Bunshiro Naito, 44, who had been dispatched to plant construction company JGC Corp. by a Tokyo employment agency.
The sources said another of the victims was JGC Senior Advisor Tadanori Aratani, 66, a former executive vice president of the company, which operates in the resource-rich North African country. He was said to have been visiting the natural gas complex in Ain Amenas in eastern Algeria on a business trip.
When Islamic militants attacked the complex, 17 Japanese, including JGC employees, were reportedly there at the time. Seven survived.
Yesterday, a Japanese government plane carrying Japanese survivors and the bodies of nine of the victims left Algiers. It is expected to arrive at Haneda Airport this morning.
At a press conference yesterday, Suga said the government plans to release the names of the victims after their bodies return home. The government previously withheld such information at JGC's request and for other reasons, but Suga said the government has since obtained the understanding of parties concerned to do so.
"I will release [the information] at my regular press conference under the responsibility of the government," he said. "In a way, we think that's the end to one chapter [of the incident]."
At a press conference Wednesday night, Suga said two victims identified that day were men and their identities were confirmed by Japanese police authorities dispatched to Algeria.
"We're deeply saddened to learn that these precious lives were taken away," Suga said. "Violence shouldn't be allowed for any reason. We resolutely condemn any terrorist act."
The death of the final Japanese unaccounted for after the siege was announced yesterday evening.
In the Algerian capital, Parliamentary Senior Vice Foreign Minister Shunichi Suzuki, who was dispatched as a special envoy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, held talks with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal on Wednesday afternoon and asked him for more information about the incident.
Sellal reportedly told Suzuki he would cooperate as much as he could.
After two deaths were confirmed Wednesday, Abe told reporters the next morning, "This truly saddens us."
Algeria accepts more journalists
By Mina Mitsui
ALGIERS -- The Algerian government on Wednesday started accepting more foreign journalists in the country to cover the recent deadly hostage crisis.
After the outbreak of the incident, the government initially did not allow foreign journalists to enter the country in principle. As Algerian embassies in Cairo, Paris and other cities resumed issuing journalist visas, more media personnel from countries concerned were expected to arrive in the country.
The Algerian state news agency reported Wednesday that the defence ministry said eight of its soldiers had sustained minor injuries in the military operation to end the hostage crisis.
Local newspaper Echorouk reported online Wednesday that work to identify Islamic militants killed at the site will be conducted soon at a military hospital in the country.