The families of three Japanese nationals kidnapped in Iraq tearfully begged the government to pull its troops out (AFP)
Terrorism: it works! Now it’s the families of the Japanese kidnapped in Iraq who are asking the Japanese government “” begging, in fact “” to behave like Spain and get their troops out of Iraq, so that they can have their loved ones back.
My heart goes out to these people. I can only dimly imagine the horrors they must be experiencing while those they love are at the mercy of these heartless, godless thugs. But the lesson of history is unanimous on this point: if the Japanese give in to them, they will not be satisfied. They will be back for more, again and again. The Spanish appeasers are already experiencing this.
TOKYO (AFP) – The families of three Japanese nationals kidnapped in Iraq and threatened with execution, tearfully begged the government to pull its troops out of the country as Tokyo reiterated there would be no withdrawal.
Seven relatives of the three hostages, whom gunmen are threatening to burn alive unless Japan pulls its troops out of Iraq within three days, flew to Tokyo to plead with government officials for a military withdrawal.
Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and other officials met them for about 50 minutes, assuring that the government would do its utmost to rescue them, while stopping short of responding directly to their request for a troop withdrawal.
The meeting followed the broadcast of harrowing television footage showing the three Japanese in captivity, surrounded by masked militants from a group calling themselves the “Mujahedeen Brigades”.
“Please bring back the three unharmed. If circumstances allow, I ask (the government) to withdraw the Self-Defense Forces (military),” one family member was quoted by Jiji Press as telling Kawaguchi.
Another family member asked in desperation: “I want you to solve this now. Why can’t the Self-Defense Forces withdraw?,” according to Jiji.
Japan has deployed some 550 troops to the southern Iraqi city of Samawa for humanitarian work, despite widespread opposition on the grounds the move violated the country’s post-war pacifist constitution.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since the hostage crisis began, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vowed Friday Japan would not pull troops out of Iraq.
“We must not yield to terrorists’ foul threats,” Koizumi said. “There is no plan” to withdraw troops from Iraq, he said, adding the government would “do our utmost so that they (kidnap victims) will be released immediately.”
He was repeating the line taken by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda on Thursday after news of the kidnapping emerged.
In Washington, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld welcomed Japan’s immediate resolve to keep troops in Iraq.
“Clearly, that is a good, sound decision and it’s appreciated,” he said, as Australia also urged Japan not to bow to the demands from gunmen.
Analysts said Koizumi had no choice but to adopt a hardline stance.
“If Japan gives into threats, both extremists and international society will think Japan is soft on terrorism,” said Matake Kamiya, professor of security at the National Defence Academy. “Japan’s image as a nation state is at stake.”