Hostage-crisis expenses topped 18 million yen, excluding pay

The government racked up 18.15 million yen in expenses during its efforts to secure the release of five Japanese citizens taken hostage by gunmen in Iraq in April in two separate incidents, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

The amount does not include wages for officials and staff involved or expenses that the government has asked the freed captives to pay after they returned home.

The ministry said 13.7 million yen was spent on travel expenses for officials, including airfare, accommodation and travel allowances.

Operation costs for the chartered plane for three of the five totaled 530,000 yen, while a separate chartered plane for Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aisawa and other officials who traveled to Jordan to set up a crisis task force cost roughly 2.03 million yen, it said.

Operational costs for the task forces in the Japanese Embassy in Jordan and the consulate in Dubai came to 1.74 million yen.

The production of a video message in which Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi urged the release of the captives cost about 160,000 yen, it said.

“We announced (the expenses) in response to requests by lawmakers,” a ministry official said.