Tokyo: Does anyone else share responsibility for the death of Kenji Goto?


After the killing of a second Japanese hostage, Kenji Goto, by the Islamic State group, Mark Buckton asked people whether others share some culpability in his death. Some interviewees declined to have their pictures and surnames published.

Kengo Fukushima
Manufacturing, 21 (Japanese)
It’s difficult to say. Islamic State captured and killed these Japanese, and the government did not take active measures to save them, but I think that another nation — one that claims it will never yield to terrorism — should be held responsible for this tragedy.

Liz Cunningham
TV extra, 40s (Australian)
Without knowing much about this, I’d say nobody else is responsible. It sounds like he brought it on himself by going there to rescue (slain hostage Haruna) Yukawa. Knowing he had a child who’s just weeks old, I don’t think he considered his actions well enough.

Nao Sakamoto
Student, 20 (Japanese)
It is merely my personal opinion, but I think the main issue is that Japan and the faith of Islam don’t really understand each other. If they made more time for each other, then people like Goto wouldn’t need to go over there and he wouldn’t end up killed.

Markus Wendelieng
Web designer, 29 (German)
The Islamic world hasn’t arrived in today’s world yet. The majority of Muslims might be peaceful, but there are many people who are looking for pride but feel that they’ve lost that, because the West rules the world, and so they are trying to catch up in their own weird way.

Martin Traill
Paramedic, 50 (New Zealander)
I think no one else can be held responsible — nor can one depend on countries to pay ransoms, though some may pay. I’m unsure about the specifics in this case, but Syria is a dangerous place for people to be going and ISIS only used him to get attention.

Sayaka Yokomizo
Music student, 23 (Japanese)
(Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe is to blame. Japan and Islam have no effective relationship, and this leads to a lack of ability to cooperate when necessary, in situations such as now. More understanding, and thus better communication, would benefit everyone.

Emmanuel Uchechukwu
Church minister, 44 (Nigerian)
I think nobody else is responsible. In this world we live in, we have freedom of movement to go anywhere we want, and it was not a crime to be there in Syria, so what happened can only be viewed as a tragedy.

Yuki Kobayashi
Ad agency staff, 24 (Japanese)
Japanese people think the Japanese government should have helped him, but the ransom amount was too much. Goto was a journalist who went there himself, and what happened happened. On one hand it is bad to expect the government to help, but on the other hand, if people like Goto don’t go to these places, Japanese people don’t know what is happening. So, maybe for that reason, the government should have helped him, but they were much too slow in doing so.

Hiroko M.
Housewife 41 (Japanese)
The Islamic State terrorists killed him even though the Japanese government was negotiating with them, so they alone are responsible. I do think the government should help any Japanese person in trouble overseas, and in this case they did, but he put himself in that position so it is his own fault in a way.

Ryunosuke W.
Businessman, 39 (Japanese)
Of course the Islamic State group is responsible for his death, but I have worked in the media before and I think one thing has been missing from all the reporting in this case is the possibility that Goto was looking to draw attention to himself by getting an inside story on Yukawa. Going to these places is a gamble, and this one failed. He alone is responsible for his actions.

Naoko Suzuki
Bank staff, 24 (Japanese)
I think the government could have helped more. But in the end only the Islamic State group is responsible for his death. But we don’t really know what the government was doing behind the scenes. Maybe they were negotiating, which is good, but I don’t think they should pay ransoms. If they do, all Japanese become targets.

Interested in collecting vox pops in your local area? Email community@japantimes.co.jp.