Two more JGC workers in Algeria confirmed dead

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff writer

Two more Japanese workers were confirmed dead after the hostage crisis at a natural gas complex in Algeria, bringing the total number of Japanese casualties to nine, officials in Tokyo said late Wednesday night. Another worker still remains missing.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga made that announcement during a hastily arranged news conference, saying a team of Japanese government officials and Yokohama-based JGC Corp. workers identified the bodies of the two at Algiers, where about a dozen of unidentified bodies of unknown nationalities were brought for inspections by foreign government officials.

Among those bodies, the team found and identified the two JGC male workers, Suga said.

“This brings us deep sorrow. We cannot ever tolerate any acts of violence, whatever the reasons might be,” Suga said.

Soon before the news conference, Senior Vice Foreign Minister Shunichi Suzuki met Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal in Alger and asked for assistance in locating the remaining one Japanese and transporting the bodies of the two workers back to Japan. The prime minister agreed, according to Suga.

Until Wednesday, seven Japanese JGC workers have been found alive. Tokyo has dispatched a government airplane to Algiers and plans to bring home the seven survivors and the bodies of the nine dead victims soon.

The bodies of the two are believed to have been initially kept at a hospital near the gas plant, Suga said.

The capital city is located about 1,200 km away north of the gas complex in the Sahara desert.