A monument to the dead or merely a gruesome exhibit?

The Foreign Ministry is considering displaying in its courtyard the bullet-riddled vehicle in which two Japanese diplomats and their Iraqi driver were assassinated in northern Iraq.

“Some ministry officials say the vehicle should be scrapped, but others claim it should be displayed as a monument” to commemorate the slain diplomats, a senior ministry official said Wednesday.

The four-wheel-drive Toyota Land Cruiser, which was brought to Japan earlier this month, will be turned over to the Foreign Ministry after police finish their investigation.

The ministry will ask the opinion of the families of the victims, Katsuhiko Oku and Masamori Inoue, he said.

The vehicle is peppered with about 30 bullet holes along its left side.

Oku, Inoue and the driver were killed in an alleged terrorist attack just before the government announced a basic plan to dispatch Self-Defense Forces elements to Iraq.

The attack stirred public concern over security, with some saying Japan should not send troops until the situation is stable.

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