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Abe fighting against time to find way to free hostages

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By Elaine Kurtenbach

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"vowing never to give in to terrorism"

Well, since giving them 200$ million could be interpreted in no other way, his options are rather limited. I daresay the inevitable execution of these two will be used to further cower the Japanese public, that in a dangerous world we must spend even more on defense, and follow the US around the world as they wage war in perpetuity. 70 years of pacifism? Good while it's lasted.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

Jcapan

You're quite right. A lot of us have the suspicion that the inevitable deaths of these two men will be milked shamelessly by the Abe junta as "proof" of the need for Abe's revision of the constitution and remilitarisation of the nation.

Nothing like a bit of victimhood when you need back-up for something odious.

20 ( +29 / -9 )

Readers, please stop using these threads to bash Abe.

Abe should have stayed over there and led the crack rescue team instead of flying back to Tokyo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

May be Abe is back home after securing the release of these two hostages. with or without ransom? depends on media speculation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I hate to say this, but they're dead.

ISIS is just taunting Japan and Abe with that demand. It's a sick joke to them. They know that Japan won't pay, so they just want to get the formalities out of the way to garner support for "their cause".

They're a sick, disgusting group of savages that the world would be much better without.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I don't know why so many readers are blaming Abe. He is not responsible. The decision to provide non-military humanitarian aid is the correct thing for Japan to do.

Anyway, the two hostages were grabbed last year. As this story says, and other Japanese media reported last night, Goto's wife received a ransom demand in December.

In my opinion, IS is desperate for cash, no matter what they say. They also know the 72-hour deadline is impractical. What do they expect Japan to do? Send a few diplomats to a desert rendezvous with 50 suitcases full of $200 million in cash?

But one thing I keep repeating is that I would like to see YouTube and Facebook block all videos from IS. It is their strongest (maybe only) propaganda and recruiting tool. I would also like the U.S> to focus its airstrikes on the oil fields that IS has captured. Retake them or destroy them.

Without funds and PR, all they can do is shout slogans on street corners.

13 ( +22 / -9 )

For the record, I don't blame Abe for this crisis. I do, however, have severe misgivings about how this incident will be used to pursue his already stated objectives.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

If the hostages will be executed, it would be a huge tragedy. An even bigger tragedy would be if they will use this tragedy to further certain agendas.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Get used to it Japan as more and more hostage situations will be on the headline. Way back in 1977 Japanese government led by PM Takeo Fukuda paid $6 mil for the release of hostages in Bangladesh. Also, “Back in 2004, Islamist militants in Iraq captured a 24-year-old Japanese tourist named Shosei Koda and ended up decapitating him after the Japanese government, then led by PM Junichiro Koizumi, rejected a ransom demand. Earlier that year, in 2004, three Japanese citizens were released after having been captured by a group of militants in Iraq who demanded that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces withdraw their troops from the country within three days. The Abe government similarly faced a hostage crisis in January 2013 when 10 Japanese citizens were captured and killed by Islamist militants at a gas complex in Algeria.” Recently Japan must have poked the extremists in the right places so much that they are now targeting Japanese people. Japanese should ponder whether they want to be like the Americans who are so scared to travel in the Middle East or be like the Chinese who are less likely to be captured for ransom because of their non-interference policy.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"We are fighting against time, and we'll make an all-out effort and use every diplomatic route that we have developed to win the release of the two," he said.

Japan is in an extremely difficult situation. It needs to find a way to save the hostages by getting in touch with religious leaders and local heavyweights who are in a position to make contact with the extremists,

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Even Goto and Yukawa disobeyed Japanese govt notice not to go Syria, after all Japanese diplomats left there, Abe is trying to rescue them. He did not say good riddance of visa regulation violators. U/SA media stopped to talk them defending anymore after they talked about them but Japanese Govt differs. Friday time in Japan?

Talking with religious leaders might work. By now, they must know that Japanese do not hate Islam, though they probably know Japanese are ignorant on any religeons. Japan will be talking with powerful people than ISIS, Helping them may work and this might crush childish ISIS. Hopefully. It seems Japan found powerful local people that may hekp Japan's wish to rebuild their country when Syrian Govt is not reliable/

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Using human lives for political purposes, by any party, is just plain disgusting. And let's hope that no matter what the outcome -- pray that it is positive -- that no one tries to score political points off of these lives.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I'm not saying that Japan should go around and use what military it has on others, but I honestly don't mind if Japan starts rearming and building its military for defense purposes. In this increasingly dangerous world, especially with Russia and China challenging Japanese borders, and Islamic extremists making threats that they can carry out through sheer willpower and attrition, Japan needs a strong response and resolve to these circumstances.

With all these geographical, political, and terrorist issues (Senkaku islands, Ukraine, cyber spying, Islamic State) raging in the world right now, it wouldn't be surprising if war broke out. Japan needs to be prepared. The world is changing quickly, and Japan won't be able to remain in isolation forever.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

flowers: Recently Japan must have poked the extremists in the right places so much that they are now targeting Japanese people. Japanese should ponder whether they want to be like the Americans who are so scared to travel in the Middle East or be like the Chinese who are less likely to be captured for ransom because of their non-interference policy.

So until now, Japanese tourists were wandering freely all over ISIS territory? These two were so unlucky to be caught, only due to change in Abe's policy releasing $100M (or Y100M)?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good luck Mister Abe. Whatever your action in Japan, the situation you are is terrible. Hope the hostage will be back to Japan soon and alive.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mr. Abe cannot be held accountable for this unfortunate turn-out event. The Mrs. of one hostage should have taken the right course of action back in December. Now, this extremist group place themselves to be taken seriously. My thoughts and prayers are with hostages. Just hope all works out without human loss.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Let me be straight: I don't like to double comment on a single topic and I apologize for exercising a political view instead of a relevant one above.

These Japanese men got the short end of the stick. It sucks. It's terrible. It's terrible for them, and it's worse for their families. This isn't right. So, who's at fault? Abe? Japan? These Japanese men? None of the above.

Abe is not at fault for funding $200 million dollars towards the effort against a terrorist organization, particularly the Islamic State? So what? It put Japan on the map of countries that IS should terrorize. This isn't Japan's fault. This isn't Abe's fault. This is IS's fault. They're the ones doing these horrible executions and human rights' atrocities. Guys, IS are the bad guys here. They don't care who they hurt, murder, torture or who they have to manipulate or extort to do it. Any effort against these terrible people is a good thing.

Abe, and subsequently Japan, did the right thing. Now, these IS cowards want revenge. They want to execute innocent people for their violent, totalitarian ideological views. Don't be afraid of these cowards. Be strong. Show strength, resolve, and resiliency.

This is a dire situation, and these men may very well lose their lives. But that's no one's fault except the people who take them.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Any sensible person know much about these guys?

Japanese Special Forces Group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_ForcesGroup%28Japan%29

Central Readiness Force http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Readiness_Force

My guess is their effectiveness depends on the situation, (even with the best training, and these guys seem to have that). Doesn't matter if they not allowed to deploy overseas though.

In any case, I'll assume ISIS will have the hostages in a very well guarded facility. No other country has succeed in rescuing hostages from ISIS in any case but one never knows. A 3rd "country" may offer their services and get lucky, one can always dream. When special ops go well, they go well, otherwise it's a sh!tstorm of finger pointing and bad press, despite those formerly clamouring for somebody to do "something".

In any case, I sincerely hope the days of ISIS as a cohesive force are severely numbered. I'd be happy to see them exterminated and their atrocities against hapless locals and the odd foreigner stopped.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, the fault falls on the people who are forcing Japan to take a posture they had abandoned for over 50 years on condition of keeping their alliances. Japan is not a world power, it enjoyed a couple of decades of great economic growth and as a pacific nation was doing just fine for themselves and with the rest of the world. Would tgey now want to engage in playing with the governments of the west, totally up to them but in today's world it comes at a price. What Abe means by no giving into terrorism? He already did at least to one side of it. The one that inflict casualties on Muslim almost daily

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Does the Asahi Shimbun seriously think that the hostages would be materially better off if there was still a Japanese diplomat in Syria? IS does not tend to be big on diplomacy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Everyone think they should be release but what are they doing there in the first place. Maybe we can ask Iran to help!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Traveling: Securing the hostages' release will be hard, "because all Japanese diplomats left Syria as the civil war escalated," Tsutomu Ishiai, foreign news editor for the major newspaper Asahi Shimbun, said in a commentary.

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The Japanese negotiaters need someone who speak local language. They can't negotiate with Japanese or American English with local leaders. They will talk with more powerful people than British English speaking ISIS criminals

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Jeez, is it Abe's fault they got kidnapped? Would you all lay off ad hominem attacks? Would a little unity hurt? A little sympathy for the two men whose lives are at stake? At least Abe is trying. What are we all doing but sitting here in front of our computers?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Torakichi - I'm not saying it's Abe's fault anyone got kidnapped. Many are anxious about how the powers that be will spin this tragedy to advance their own militaristic agenda.

I just think it's extremely sinister that the moderators now consider it acceptable to warn users against exercising their freedom of speech to criticise the government. Charlie Hebdo made it pretty clear that civilisation is on the side of the right to criticise and lampoon anyone. JT mods have placed our PM on a higher plane, beyond reproach.

That is not a sign of a healthy attitude for the host of a discussion site to espouse.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Abe will definitely exploit this tragedy to advance his agenda. Be prepared to see more situations like this. With the new secrecy law in place it's pretty easy to see where this is heading

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those images look fake all of These beheadings the world order propaganda machine at it again ,people the goverments of the world are the real terrorists

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Giving into them will put other people who are there for more legitimate reasons in harms way. The militants will see kidnapping as a good way to fund their cause, so in way should Abe be even entertaining their requests. They should be completely ignored.

I do feel for the journalist who put his life at risk to be in that region and report on the war there, but the other guy is a damn idiot, so I have no compassion for him. He dragged Japan into this situation to fuel his own self indulging narcissistic fantasy of being a tough guy. Tough lesson to lean but he deserves it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well if these 2 hostages are executed because of Japan's provision of non-military aid, then Japan should go all out in providing military aid and weapons to the Iraqi government and other groups fighting IS. Japan's involved in all this now, might as well go further in helping driving these people back into the desert

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As I heard this topic discussed in a variety of cafes and restaurants across Tokyo, one question kept popping up, Why is Japan even involved in the Middle East much less with offering humanitarian aide when that aide is very well needed home in Japan or among its allies. The most popular response all lay with Abe and his personal agenda of nationalism and change the Constitution.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

“Japan’s aim is not to kill the Muslim people, as the militant group claims it to be,” Suga said.

Well, Japan put itself in the firing line by aiding America's effort against ISIS, that can't be denied

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Didn't Yukawa have an AK47 when he was captured? What does that make him in Abe's eyes?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese hostages have been released in the past http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/23/world/struggle-for-iraq-hostages-freed-captivity-iraq-japanese-return-more-pain.html As the link above shows, judging by the reception they received the hostages may have wished they'd been killed instead.

Clearly with ISIS it's now a different story however

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Weird , Most iraqi forces are defecting into ISIS , even barzani is dealing with the house of saudi behind the shadows , I prefer japan should handle it wisely

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What was the point of IS (or whoever) sending a ransom demand of 2 billion yen to Goto's wife? Did someone really believe she had that much money?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate to say this, but those two brought it on themselves. The one who had the issues and went there on his own was asking for trouble going there, and the reporter who went looking for him (and a story) brought that on himself. I would have more sympathy for them if they were there on some type of humanitarian mission, but these two were there on their own, and not in any governmant mission.

The Japanese governement (in my opinion) has the obligation to warn it's citizens on the issues in the region and to advise not to go there. If they want to put a tourist embargo similar to the one used by the USA and Cuba for people going there not on official business they should. But since there isn't such a restriction then the fact that they are captured falls on the two individuals.

Sure the J-Gov can protest officially and let them know that they need to release their citizens, but if I were Abe, I would just be upfront and tell the people, that they are not going to pay the ransom, and advise them not to go there. If people as individuals or businesses want to go to these regions, then it is on them. They need to be prepared to handle these situations.

Obviously, if they were directly working for the J-gov, that's a different story and he should be making full effort for their release.

In a related story, in Iraq, ISIS did release a few teenage boys after their family paid their ransom in gold jewlery and money. The reason the boys were held captive was because they were caught breeding pigeons, and according to ISIS this was taboo because they focused their efforts on breeding pigeons and not focusing on the Koran and Allah. So much for having outside interests and doing anything for the betterment of mankind. And by the way, the killed the pigeons.

Abe, don't give in, just tell the people not to go there and let them make an adult decision (like these two did) even if it is a bad one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I would have more sympathy for them if they were there on some type of humanitarian mission,

The previous link I posted shows what happened the last time Japanese hostages were taken in the region. And they were on a humanitarian mission!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Does Japan have an SAS/Navy Seals equivalent.? Send them in? Alternative is to pay up, but he can't possibly do that publicly now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hope he finds a way, but not confident. Execution skills of this government leave a lot to be desired.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The previous link I posted shows what happened the last time Japanese hostages were taken in the region. And they were on a humanitarian mission!

Those who were on a humanitarian mission deserve to have the government doing all it can to get them back safely. But at some point, even those who go there for humanitarian reasons need to access the worth versus the risk. I commend those who want to go to help out, more power to them. But does there going to help out and things turn bad and then they expect others (i.e. military, etc) to come to their rescue, is it worth their noble feelings about themselves to put others in danger to rescue them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

With as much money these terrorists have gotten so far from other people being "kidnapped" you would think they would just move on and live a nice rich life wherever they please. It's bad enough they always look clean in these videos including their clothing, weapons and vehicles. Where do you get orange jumpsuits in the middle east anyway? Why ask for more?

I personally think all this is just a sham.

And these demands for that much money. Who had that stupid amount of money laying around?

That's like saying I'll ransom your pet for $2 million. Am I just crazy??

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A psychological nut case organisation has no compulsion to slaughter anyone for their God, really tough people attacking people with Pencils? or hacking their way through a neck of a handcuffed person... Yep that defiantly convinces me to try wearing black pyjamas and sticking my arse in the air a few times in the day. Better keep my wife indoors too, or I might have to stone her to death. Thank you IS for showing me a happy future.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If Japan pays up - they win big. If Japan doesn't pay up (more likely) the hostages are executed - fear is spread - and they win. Abe will also win because he will use that as an excuse to beef up Japan's military, ahem "defence forces", citing then need to deepen aid to the US in the fight against ISIS

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i don't think cutting media attention from this corrupt group like from facebook or youtube (as mentioned somewhere) will help resolve the problem.

it will only help them more to do everything they can secretly without the knowledge of the world, spreading their ideology without any awareness of it until it reaches ur own backyards.

i think the more media attention given to them, the more chances that alternative solutions are to be processed, or the more possible it is that this cancer can be contained from spreading.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese Govt officially prohibited Japanese citizens to enter Syria as Japan cut diplomatic ties and sent Japanese diplomats back home. /So they entered in the country from another country. Even so, Japanese Govt is trying to rescue them,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Brainiac:

"I would like to see YouTube and Facebook block all videos from IS. It is their strongest (maybe only) propaganda and recruiting tool. "

That would be good, but it is not their only recruiting tool. Plenty of jihadists preachers everywhere, and on the internet they´d quickly find other routes.

"I would also like the U.S> to focus its airstrikes on the oil fields that IS has captured. Retake them or destroy them. Without funds and PR, all they can do is shout slogans on street corners. "

Destroying the oil fields would help too, but don´t think for a moment ISIS is without income without them. Don´t forget that ISIS is basically the product of generous funding from the Wahabi gulf states, and indirectly also from the US via their ill-advised funding of "vetted rebels". Also the hostage trade and the ISIS tax on humanitarian aid amounts to a steady stream of income. Plus, they captured all the gold reserves of the bank of Mosul...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm a muslim and I can not describe enough how horrible and angry I feel right now because these terrorists speak in the name of my religion :@ , unfortunately there's nothing that can be done to save the hostages and I hope I'm wrong :(

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@WakarimasenJAN. 22, 2015 - 02:28PM JST Does Japan have an SAS/Navy Seals equivalent.? Send them in? Alternative is to pay up, but he can't possibly do that publicly now.had experience of '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Whether Japan own or manufacture weapons, The article 9 of Japanese constitution specifies that only when Japanese nation is attacked, self defense purpose only Japan can use its Self /defense Forces. This hostage situation, it is not attacking Japanese land that Japan can not use its force to attack ISIS. Bombing there will create civilian casualities. zI mean innocent people and families. I don;t think Japan will not bomb there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I mean do you think that japan will go to war with ISIS to destroy the trade relationship with its funder the answer is no

then abe mentioning of we will not bow to terrorism is a lie it is not like their neighboring countries , it is a countries that fund japan economically ,japan is not caring about humans ,

but that means a lot to an politician expert

the house of saudi built a trillion of mosque to make the millions learn that cult , if there is a country that cares about humanity it will step up to destroy it , the prophecies pf this religion in the favor of the infidel better than dhimmis jews

we will see how many countries are going to sacrifice the trade relationship in order to crush this ideology

obama knows that ,

trade boycott only will destroy them from the inner to outside ,

But do really those countries want to do that , lefties are willing to do that but ==========

righties are willing to do this in europe

so why wait ,

no need of army , but is the countries that are going to step up to that fight are willing to sacrifice , chinese are bowing to them and sacrificing people in this area to gain the normal trade relationship , seems that they are good in trade and diplomacy but is their diplomacy is going to work for a long time , it will make them lose that trade in the long run ,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

turbotsat, the problem is the Japanese “tourists” will not be safe anywhere in the Middle East so long as Japanese government keeps poking them with the so called “humanitarian aids.” Abe government chose to side with their enemy and expected no retaliation from them, this put Japanese people in harm’s way. It is the Japanese government’s devious policy that has killed its own citizens. Giving away huge sum of money that can be considered “bribery” and that should have been used for those people in need at home. Japanese government tries to act as if it’s powerful and strong standing behind Uncle Sam in their fight. The question is why? Don’t you think the money is needed at home more? Why go against its own Constitution and turn its back on the peaceful development. Terror is fueled by hatred so it makes no sense to add the Japanese people to their hate list.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese people were prohibited to visit Syriq because Japan cut off diploamtci relationship with /syria years agi. So these two peole sneaked into Syria from Iraq. $200 million, Japan was not givig money to Syrian Govt. Japan will bring Food, linens, shoes, etc to war victim people, not to govt as they have no diplomatic relationship. It is not sum of money. Maybe not instant tofu but dried shrimp etc. Not pork products, that is for usre. Vegetables and maybe instant ramens. Not geta or zori but some kind of made in Japan shoes so that people do not walk with bare feet on hot desert. Again, it is not sum of money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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