• Kyodo


An airplane carrying the bodies of two Japanese freelance journalists slain in an attack near Baghdad last month were flown Sunday from Kuwait to Bangkok for cremation.

Shinsuke Hashida and his nephew, Kotaro Ogawa, had lived in the Thai capital before heading to Baghdad. Hashida’s wife, Yukiko, 50, and four other family members accompanied the bodies to Bangkok and plan to cremate them at a temple Monday night.

“I am thankful that I can see him off at the place where our family of three spent the longest time together,” Yukiko said before leaving her hotel in Kuwait City for the flight. Hashida is survived by his wife and a son, Daisuke.

“I would also like to thank the people in Thailand who quickly accepted” our request for the cremation, Yukiko said.

Hashida was sent to Bangkok in 1978 as bureau chief for the Nihon Denpa News. He and Yukiko began their married life there and he continued to live in Bangkok even after he became a freelancer in 1989.

Ogawa was also based in Bangkok after he became a freelance journalist in July 2003.

Hashida was 61 years old and Ogawa was 33 when they were killed.

Their relatives are to return to Japan with their cremated remains on Wednesday morning and head for Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, where Hashida’s 81-year-old mother, Mine, lives.

Protest held in Osaka

OSAKA (Kyodo) Some 30 civil activists and university students lodged a “silent appeal” Sunday, calling on voters to make the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq an issue in next month’s House of Councilors election.

Holding photographs of Iraqi children and placards saying “We’ll vote for candidates who won’t wage war,” the protesters walked along Osaka shopping streets and rode the city’s subways, distributing fliers calling for the withdrawal of the SDF troops, which are on a humanitarian assistance mission in Iraq.