National Apr 28, 2004

Hostage blames state for backlash

The harsh criticism that has been aimed at Japanese civilians taken hostage in Iraq stems from government resentment over their relatives' calls for Tokyo to withdraw its troops from the country, one of the hostages said Tuesday. Five Japanese civilians were taken captive in Iraq ...

Ex-hostage stands by decision to visit Iraq

National Apr 22, 2004

Ex-hostage stands by decision to visit Iraq

by Hiroshi Matsubara

A freelance journalist recently freed after being held hostage in Iraq said that while he regrets not properly realizing the dangers of traveling near a war zone, he stands by his decision to go and report on the situation there. Jumpei Yasuda, 30, who returned ...

Hostages released into storm of criticism

National Apr 21, 2004

Hostages released into storm of criticism

by Hiroshi Matsubara

Two days before her daughter was freed Thursday night by her captors in Iraq, 65-year-old Kyoko Takato was apologizing to the public, using words more befitting of the parent of a criminal. Civilian hostages Nahoko Takato, 34, a volunteer aid worker; Soichiro Koriyama, a 32-year-old ...

National Apr 20, 2004

Freed hostage pair sorry, admit going to Fallujah

Two Japanese civilian captives freed Saturday by gunmen after being kidnapped last week apologized Sunday for causing trouble and said they were snatched while trying to get to Fallujah, not to a downed U.S. chopper. Freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda and human rights activist Nobutaka Watanabe ...

Pair's release takes the heat off Koizumi

National Apr 18, 2004

Pair's release takes the heat off Koizumi

by Reiji Yoshida

Foreign Ministry officials in Tokyo were pleasantly surprised Saturday by the news that two Japanese hostages were abruptly freed by their captors in Baghdad. Their freedom effectively enabled Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to avert the biggest political crisis he has had to face since taking ...

National Apr 16, 2004

Journalist, activist feared abducted near Baghdad

Two Japanese civilians were apparently abducted Wednesday in suburban Baghdad -- just one day before three other Japanese taken hostage last week were released. The pair, a witness reported, were in a taxi when they were stopped by other cars and snatched by gunmen. One of ...