Slain journalist’s son collects keepsakes

Kyodo

The son of a Japanese freelance journalist slain Thursday in an attack south of Baghdad spoke of his father Monday after Japanese officials turned over his father’s charred wristwatch and other belongings to him and his mother in Kuwait.

“I am so glad my father’s keepsakes were found,” Shinsuke Hashida’s 22-year-old son, Daisuke, said of his father’s favorite wristwatch, and vowed to continue his life “always with the memory of my father.”

Daisuke and his mother, 50-year-old Yukiko, flew to Kuwait on Saturday to try to help identify what is believed to be the 61-year-old man’s severely burned body.

DNA tests have yet to positively identify the remains as Hashida’s.

Hashida, his 33-year-old nephew Kotaro Ogawa and their Iraqi driver and interpreter were attacked Thursday by gunmen as they drove through Mahmoudiya, about 30 km south of Baghdad. Only the driver survived.

Hashida’s wristwatch was the same brand as one he gave his son to celebrate his new job after graduating from college this spring.

Daisuke said he received the Swiss Army watch in late March when his father made a trip to Japan and visited him at his home in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, before leaving for Iraq.

He said that, in return, he gave his father a shirt bought with money from his first paycheck and remembered his father saying that he might wear it when he appeared on television.

Daisuke said they last met on May 9 in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward and had dinner, spending several hours together.

During the meeting, Daisuke said his father told him he was going to Iraq.

Yukiko Hashida recounted how happy her husband looked before giving his son the wristwatch. “I wonder if Daisuke will like it,” she quoted him as saying and added that he greatly treasured his family.