Statement: Japanese Hostages in Iraq
09 April 2004
- The three Japanese – Soichiro Koriyama, Noriaki Imai and Nahoko Takato – were snatched by a militant group in Iraq on 8 April. The group demanded: “Withdraw Self-Defense Force (SDF) troops from Iraq within three days or we kill them”. Terrorism is a mean act and any form of terrorism should not be accepted. We can just imagine how deeply hurt the families of the hostages must be. Rengo demands their immediate, unhurt release.
- Following Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda saying that “since the Self-Defence Forces are providing reconstruction support for Iraqi people, there is no reason for withdrawal," Prime Minister Koizumi has clearly refused to withdraw the troops: "We should not give in to these despicable threats." However, major responsibilities for the current situation lay with the government and thus the government must devote its possible efforts to rescue the hostages.
- RENGO has been continuously demanding to call off the dispatch of SDF troops to Iraq and to avoid a case that a Japanese citizen becomes a target of a terror attack for the reason of the dispatch. The Iraqi situation has been continuing getting worse, as shells were fired near a billet of the Ground Self-Defence Force in Samawah. Rengo calls on Prime Minister Koizumi to become keenly aware of his responsibility staring at the situation and respond to it giving the highest priority to human life.