• Kyodo

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A measure of cross-party consensus appears to be emerging in the ongoing hostage drama after the Japanese Communist Party reprimanded one of its lawmakers for criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s handling of the crisis.

On her official Twitter account on Sunday, Lower House member Saori Ikeuchi sniped at Abe for his response to the crisis, suggesting that he himself was somehow responsible for it.

“The Abe administration sounds like a broken tape recorder,” she wrote, accusing it of merely repeating how “outrageous” events were.

“His government gives little value to human lives, regardless whether they’re in or outside of Japan,” she continued. “What’s really outrageous is the continuation of the Abe government.”

The message was deleted after Twitter readers hit back at Ikeuchi and she was rebuked by JCP chief Kazuo Shii.

“Posting such comments is inappropriate, especially now when the government is doing everything it can,” Shii said at a news conference Monday.

“I too condemn such atrocious acts of brutality,” Shii said. “I hope the Japanese government will take every possible measures and put the top priority on saving the life” of journalist Kenji Goto and securing his release.

Meanwhile, former agriculture minister Akira Gunji, who heads the Democratic Party of Japan in the Upper House, said now is a time when the opposition party should be cooperating with the administration.

“We want the government to do its best. If there is any way we can help, we will be happy to cooperate,” Gunji said, urging his fellow lawmakers to act appropriately.

During a meeting Monday between the Upper House affairs chiefs from the ruling and opposition parties, both sides agreed that they would cooperate in prioritizing Japan’s response to the hostage crisis.

Kazuya Shinba of the DPJ told reporters the opposition party agrees that the government should place “maximum priority on human life,” and that Abe or his Cabinet ministers could leave committee meetings if necessary to deal with the crisis.

Meanwhile, Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s General Council, admitted during a TV program Monday night that the nation was unprepared for such a crisis. But he blamed family members and friends of Yukawa and Goto for failing to prevent them from traveling to Syria.

“In such a situation, families and friends should make an effort. There must have been many ways to stop them from going to zones designated by the government as dangerous, as they were heading to the most conflict-ridden areas,” Nikai said. “People around them should have warned them.”

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