• Kyodo


Colleagues and family members of those killed in the hostage crisis in Algeria marked the first anniversary Thursday, while the government vowed to improve its crisis management.

The national and company flags were hoisted at half-staff at the headquarters of engineering firm JGC Corp. in Yokohama, with a moment of silence observed to remember its employees killed by Islamist militants at a gas complex in southeastern Algeria.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference, “We will make sure that a proper crisis management system is in place,” indicating it is a policy priority.

Along with 10 Japanese, dozens of foreign nationals were killed in the crisis, which prompted the Japanese government to rethink its information-gathering system while lifting sanctions on the types of weapons the Self-Defense Forces can carry in emergency transport missions abroad.

The next of kin are still seeking details of the attack, while JGC has yet to resume construction work at the plant.

“There are still issues being dealt with in the aftermath of the (incident), and it’s not over yet even after one year has passed,” said JGC spokesman Takeshi Endo.

“The government and the company do not tell us anything,” said 70-year-old Sayoko Naito, from Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, whose son was killed in the hostage crisis. “I don’t want to be reminded of the incident, but I want to know the truth.”

Naito said that in the morning of Jan. 16, 2013, she was notified by the JGC that the body of a man who looked like her son had been found. She said, however, she had not received any further information since that day.

Her 44-year-old son, Bunshiro, was a contract worker for JGC group.

Sayoko Naito also said she had neither the opportunity to talk to her son’s co-workers with whom he worked at the site, nor to meet with families of other victims.

She added that she has not managed to receive any information from Kanagawa police except for pro forma responses such as, “We are investigating the case.”

“I want them to reveal more findings of the investigation so as not to let my son’s death be in vain,” she said.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.