Nine Japanese able to flee besieged hotels

Kyodo News

Nine Japanese trapped in two hotels in Mumbai during the string of violent attacks that erupted Wednesday night have managed to escape, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Friday evening.

On Thursday, the ministry said 10 Japanese nationals were believed trapped after terrorists barricaded themselves in the Trident hotel (also known as the Oberoi), and the Taj Mahal hotel. But a senior ministry official said there were actually three in the Taj Mahal and six in the Trident.

Kinya Akatsu, 42, one of the Japanese businessmen who had been trapped in the Trident, telephoned his company in Japan, liquefied petroleum gas wholesaler Lemongas Co., and said, “I’ve been safely released,” according to company official Hitoshi Koshimizu.

Akatsu, the president of the company, was calm and cut short the phone conversation because he was getting numerous calls on his mobile phone, the official said.

“I’m relieved,” said another Japanese man, who was not identified, after leaving the hotel. Asked how it was in the hotel, he said he was not allowed to comment.