The government set up an emergency office at the Japanese Embassy in Jordan to facilitate a possible release of the three hostages in Iraq before Sunday night, the presumed deadline for Japan to withdraw its troops or risk their deaths, officials said Saturday.

A government task force led by Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aisawa, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s special envoy, arrived early Saturday in Amman.

“We will pull all our resources together and do our best to achieve an early solution,” Aisawa told reporters after a visit to the Amman office.

Asked if there had been any contact with the hostage-takers, Aisawa said, “We have received various pieces of information, but I cannot mention specifics.”

The government task force will try to locate the three hostages held by a previously unknown militant group calling itself Saraya al-Mujahideen and try to assemble the facts of the kidnapping, officials said.

Coronavirus banner