Haneda swamped despite plea for sensible coverage

About 200 reporters swamped Haneda Airport in Tokyo Tuesday to cover the historic homecoming of the five Japanese abductees, despite an agreement to protect the privacy of the survivors and their families.

“I have never seen such a large number of people gather here,” said an airport official who tried to control the crowd of reporters and cameramen. “This will be the largest (number of reporters) any VIP has ever received.”

Major domestic media organizations agreed on Friday to restrain their coverage after the survivors’ support groups issued a plea for “sensible reporting.”

Under the agreement, each media group was allowed to send only one reporter and one cameraman to the airport.

Despite the limitation, over 100 reporters, both domestic and international, started lining up at the airport’s VIP gate as early as 1 p.m. for the abductees’ 2:30 p.m. arrival.

Many reporters and cameramen who were unable to enter the airport due to the regulation waited around outside the gate for a chance to catch the five returnees before they departed for a Tokyo hotel.