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Japan seeks answers after suffering highest terror death toll since 9/11

By Kyoko Hasegawa

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© 2013 AFP

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volland: The answer is simple. You do not want a death toll like that? Then do not go to other countries to steal their resources, because sooner or later they may retaliate.The profits of this enterprise do not go the algerian people.


The plant is run by Sonatrach, which is 100% state owned and controlled, employs 58,000 people and provides about 60 Billion a year to the Algerian economy. The Algerian government invited BP and Statoil to jointly develop the plant, and the Japanese firm was also contracted bySonatrach, and thus the Algerian government.

21 ( +20 / -0 )


JGC is just one of the construction firms that specializes in making oil-related plants, they don't run them. After construction, JGC's job is done, and running the plant and managing the resources are left to the ones who requested the plant to be built, usually large oil companies or the country itself.

16 ( +16 / -2 )

This attack was not directed at Japanese, Japanese companies or the Japanese govt, therefore a lot of this reaction is misplaced. Japanese workers happened to be part of the foreign workers there. Obviously, we mourn the loss of innocent lives but lets not get off track.

16 ( +16 / -2 )

@volland these dead are innocent, these attacks were nothing more than the acts of cowards who would use innocent people as a tool to forward their backward ideas. Also I don't see the Free Syrians holding foreigners for ransom. As far as the Arab Spring goes. When you oppress people and walk on them long enough what else can they do but fight back?

15 ( +13 / -1 )


How do you define stealing resources ?

Definition for stealing is: Take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it:

Unless you can back it up, you're blatant comment has no merit.

In fact I'd just like to add that Japan and most developed nations for the matter invest millions of dollars in these 3rd world nations developing resources, infrastructure and everything else under the sun. And paid for by domestic tax payers!

Of course developed nations such as Japan seek resources from abroad. But they invest in it for years before reaping any rewards. And they pay for those resources. Nothing is free.

On a side note:

A 24-year-old postgraduate student at top-ranking Keio University in Tokyo told the paper he had been looking for opportunities in the region. I had believed that people in the Middle East are friendly toward the Japanese and I thought the Japanese are safer there than Westerners are,” he said. “But this has made me worry.

Just goes to show how misinformed people are over here. North/East Africa is a pretty hostile region.

14 ( +17 / -5 )

@ gaijininfo

It's not like Islamic countries welcome in western powers with open arms.

Really? I have never had any issues in Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE, Kuwait or Turkey before. For the most the only "Islamic" countries where western people have issues are those that don't want their own people to have freedoms.

10 ( +9 / -0 )

e.nonymous451: If blame needs to be placed, put it on the deceased's employer, JGC.

Can we blame the Japanese company for all the deaths, or just for the Japanese ones?

Here's a thought: How about instead of blaming the people who were killed, or the companies that employed them, we blame the people who took hostages, murdered a bunch of innocent people and tried to blow the place up?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I can't understand the "overwhelming anger" that Nikkei claims is present in Japan. Sadness and misery maybe, but not anger. If you look at the recent history of Algeria you will find many examples of barbaric atrocities committed by the Islamists. The victims of those acts were mainly Algerians and the Japanese were completely indifferent: no "anger", overwhelming or otherwise, was expressed in those cases.

Now, if you choose to go and work in that country you must surely be aware of the risks involved. These are compensated by high salaries, so you may think it worth the gamble. When you lose the bet it's no good getting angry. Those people will kill anyone to further their aims. Japanese aren't specifically targeted, but neither do they get special treatment.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Currently a lot of introspection in Japan as to "why were the Japanese targeted?" Doubt if the thugs with the guns would know the difference between a Japanese and a Filipino. I wonder if it's not something rather simple like the Japanese all being smartly dressed in JGC uniforms and caps with the red logo, standing out from everone else in jeans and t-shirts or thawb? In hostage situations and potential hostage situations it's important not to be noticed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It was a tragic loss of life, but there's something distasteful and narcissistic about the whole article. Isn't it a little quick to draw parallels with 9/11? For less than 10 people? Also, there's a jump to say that Japanese will now be afraid to take work overseas...possibly quite true, but a bit irrational. Shouldn't there be some attempt to put the risk in perspective? Then there is the Keio student who thought "the Japanese are safer there than Westerners are." Japanese maybe still are. But its interesting that he just accepted that people in the Middle East hate Westerners, and that didn't bother him. I don't even know what to say.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist attack, may they rest in peace.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Jay Que Condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist attack, may they rest in peace.

I second that, my heartfelt sympathies as well go out to all who have lost loved ones in this senseless act of terrorist violence.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Obviously this is very sad, and it is s true shame that all these people died, but this is a drop in the ocean compared to all the death and misery going on every day in Japan which the society as a whole chooses to ignore.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

7 people while sad is nothing compared to the hundreds, thousands, and probably millions of people that have died throughout the world since 9/11.

Mourn their loss by all means, but dont look for a shoulder to cry on when these corporations should have known better and prepared for this to potentially happen. It's not the governments responsibility to protect these people when they are working for a private corporation. These corporations could hire private security as other corporations in other countries do to protect and advise their nationals regarding security matters. It's a no brainer.

Yet sadly Japanese do nothing until tragedy occurs.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Love the JGC spokesman's comment. "We lost many capable employees." How nice of him. They were people, not just employees! Jerk!

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Now, if you choose to go and work in that country you must surely be aware of the risks involved.

Maybe the 66-year old guy had the choice whether or not to go, but a typical Japanese expat either goes where they're sent, or they have no job at all. You can argue that they should just find another job, but we all know life isn't always that simple.

For all of the analysis being done about this incident, I really don't think there is much they could've done to prevent what happened, short of having armed guards stationed all around the complex. According to some reports, the terrorists apparently had 3 people working in the plant as spies previously, and a number of informants inside (12 employees were questioned). Maybe the facility could have had more sophisticated security to prevent the terrorists from getting inside, but this was clearly a very carefully thought-out attack.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Algeria, although it is quite a moderate country on the whole, has a history which would make most, knowledgeable and sensible people think twice about going to work, live or visit there.

Clearly the company running (overseeing) this operation failed to put sufficient security measures in place. That said, JGC has a responsibility as an employer to ensure that WHERE EVER it's employees are working is safe.

We do not know where the Japanese employees were SENT there of went there by choice, but again, either way JGC is responsible for ensuring that the correct safety and security measures were in place.

In this instance though, unfortunately, this gang of murderers appear to have had the help of people working at the plant (inside knowledge) which would make it difficult for even the best security teams to stop.

The deep root cause of these issues are poverty, middle east state oppression, lack of education which breeds ignorance and hatred. - Still no excuse for murder .... I hope they manage to hunt the rest of them down.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“I had believed that people in the Middle East are friendly toward the Japanese and I thought the Japanese are safer there than Westerners are,” he said. “But this has made me worry.”

This is the real issue that the Japanese face, not knowing what is really going on in the world. Many seem to think that just because they have the "Peace constitution to the world" as the protestors like to chant outside the US bases here in Japan, the rest of the world doesn't exactly follow that creed. There are people in places around the world that will not blink at doing harm to another, just like there are some countries that have people in power positions that will do the same thing to other countries.

Japan needs to wake up and face reality that some extremist will think nothing of it in killing you since you are deemed as "infidels." No difference if you are a Christian or not, if you are not Muslim, you are infidel and subject to their jihad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

first things first it is sad that so many were killed whatever nationality, having watched NHK news over many years would they have cared so much if there were no japanese casualties. No they wouldn't ,As Alphaape said those killers didnt care where the "Infidels" were from, just that they were non believers and the japanese are naive to think that anyone with such a disposition cares about the japanese "niceness". And if they had gotten some hostages off base it would have just dragged the whole thing out to end in a throat been slit on youtube.But you dont here too much about the casualties from american drones either. Like a lot of people here they live in a bubble as if the world is disneyland....it ain't..When both sides are fanatics nothing good will come of it so time for the good old japanese to realise that they dont have much say in the greater run of things.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

hokkaidoguy hit it clean. One thing I do expect is a massive drop in Mid East support and travel. This tragedy opened up a new can of worms in Japan. This tragedy also reminds me of seeing Iranians burning the US flag with Levis and Nikes on and then uploading their stunt online with Microsoft and a Japanese laptop. You have no idea how much the west and evildoers have given them for oil. Try evolution.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There are dozens of Terrorist "Cells" throughout the Continent,looking to murder anyone whom they deem as Infidels . I would surely think twice before going to work or tour there.Their only agenda is murder at will.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When are civilized people going to learn, uncivilized people do not want to change, the best thing to do is leave them alone...and let them stes in their own Juice...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's an oil refinery... you hardly expect something so large to be taken so completely, especially from a government and country which is largely stable.

@volland - how do you think 3rd world countries develop? They need outside expertise to help them with new infrastructure, they need large engineering contracts to continue. More money in the economy will eventually lead to the rise of the middle class as opposed to typical third world countries where usually only rich and poor people exist.

As to more security, how does anyone suppose the Japanese company could have made it safer? For a country like Algeria, the likelyhood of an uprising is probably the same as in Saudi Arabia. It's untenable and unprofitable to have a private security firm wandering around with your staff because evidently none of the other countries who were 'well versed' in Middle Eastern politics deemed it necessary either. Especially for a large piece of national infrastructure, you'd expect the host government to be able to protect and control it.

People should be simply mourning the loss of these innocent people to an act of evil - not trying to place blame elsewhere. Whether you want to call them terrorists or freedom fighters, taking and executing hostages for whatever reason is an act of barbarism and terrorism, not freedom. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why are the Algerian security forces in the clear though? They enter a hostage crisis using the shoot to kill method and have not one single worry about who they shoot as long as they end the situation and get their name out of the media.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ok seriously, when has the mid east ever been really safe?...

if you go there lured by the amount of dough, you should be prepared if TSHF

1 ( +1 / -0 )

working overseas is a gamble. as an individual, you have to put in the legwork to do your research on the area to measure for yourself just how safe/dangerous it is. working in japan? yah, pretty god damn safe. working in algeria? hm...maybe not so much. once you measure the risks, it's also your job to alleviate them by bringing your safety concerns to your company, in this case, JGC. make sure they provide you with enough safety assurances and if those are enough, you make your own choice for yourself to go or not. at that point, it's your life and your decisions have outcomes, whether desired or not.

it's not like these japanese were executed while putting a suit on and walking to their office near Tokyo Station. They were working at an oil/gas plant in northern africa. Does that make it right to blame them for their deaths? of course not. we all mourn for the loss of life, especially when innocent, in this case. But let's not forget the reality of the situation.

If blame needs to be placed, put it on the deceased's employer, JGC. They are responsible for the safety of their employees and have clearly not done enough. It wouldn't even surprise me if they withheld information from their employees on just how dangerous the job and location is. Less danger = less pay. Corporations tend to screw their employees over when it affects their profit's bottom line. You would be naive to believe that this isn't the case. Corporations are people too! Yah, and they're the most cold hearted, bastard mother effers to have ever walked this earth.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The French imperialists, with the support of the US, invaded Mali to establish control of the natural resources of northern Africa. Just like prior to the first world war, the western countries are carving up Africa again.

Rich capitalist politicians -- like Abe -- have made a pact with the devil. Abe wants to get even "closer" to the western imperialists! Abe, no different from his grandfather, will bring disasters to Japan. It is time to do some "soul searching" about what is wrong with the system in Japan -- the capitalist system.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jihadists target unbelievers. So, the Japanese were targeted; not collateral kills. The lesson is to continue to develop teams that are prepared to deter, defend and rescue in the case this type of event falls under Japanese jurisdiction.

To be clear, the claim that unbelievers in general are targeted is evident from the Qur'an, which says to strike unbelievers on the neck (Sura 47 Verse 4 check multiple translations). It is also evident from what the hostage takers openly said themselves, "'...told Muslims that they were in no danger,'... 'Christians and Infidels' were the main targets'" (Telegraph.co.uk, "Terrorist with Perfect English Accent Involved in Algerian Hostage Crisis"). Also to be clear again, the term "infidel" refers to an unbeliever in general; not just someone who has left the faith through infidelity/disloyalty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese were not Specially Targeted. They just happened to be there like the others. Here is a suggestion though, Dont let Muslims into Japan!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it was unfortunate, this in no way diter Japanese from working abroad, specially Africa or Middle East

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its unfortunate but we are all targeted, in their eyes if you are not a Muslim you are an "infidel" and they use religion to justify killing people, I doubt any sane "god" or other worldly being would justify the killing of innocent people because they do not think the exact same way, after all this same "being" invented free will so why if you use it should you be punished unless it affects other people in a detrimental way i.e. murder, rape etc... !

That is how I look at it, to each their own but we need to let people believe what they want, there is no justification for killing people over religion, it is supposed to inspire hope not war!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Algerian government didn't care much about the hostages . What were the real conditions and how could the situation been diffused without a slaughter... is what needs to be known clearly. Maybe the Algerian gov didn't care how many died, just as long as they got control of their oil station.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

May those that died in Algeria rest in peace & like a few of those above who were neged, if you live & work in dangerous parts of the world..........there are risks, serious ones.

While this was tragic for sure, surely the powers that be see this spot as a target

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

International terrorism is a GLOBAL issue, and being a part of the world will subject you to its evils. If you don't want your citizens to become targets, bury your head in the sand and isolate yourself from the rest of the world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@canadianbento Define civilized please.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is where Japan would've appreciated the U.S. special units doing the work instead.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oil is the devils blood and we feed of it like vampires! What real good has come of it? RIP

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan should demand that the jsdf be deployed armed to the teeth in crappy Algeria, you know just to protect its workers and if some terrorists come along saying ohayo, blow them the hell away!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

On one hand this is Terrorism. The victims had nothing to do with the political issue that was the motivation. This is the characteristic of terrorism, the victims are innocent. And they select unsuspecting unarmed civilians. The term cowards come to mind. On the other hand Japan needs to wake up and understand that the world is a dangerous place all over. Security issues are not just in Japan's back yard. Maybe PM Abe might turn Japan in the right direction.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@ElvensilvanJan. 23, 2013 - 07:21AM JST

"JGC is just one of the construction firms that specializes in making oil-related plants, they don't run them. After construction, JGC's job is done, and running the plant and managing the resources are left to the ones who requested the plant to be built, usually large oil companies or the country itself."

So what you are suggesting is, that anyone who desires to liberate his country from criminal exploitation should first study economics, then the structure of the plant and the decide who is a just hostange? Everybody can earn money from a criminal business, but the ones that will unquestionable loose their life by attempting any change, they are supposed to be the worried ones?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Amazlingly rude posts here. It was a tragic event. and i hope that measures can be taken to protect Japanese oversees employees. It needs to be done.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This is not about Islam, this is about the oppressive regimes of the West that has sujected Japanese nationals to, as the West put it, "Collateral Damage". Japanese citizens had died in vain and its all due to the insensitivity of Western regimes.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The reason for these attacks is the empire building and resource stealing mentalities of the western powers. Bombing,killing and murdering people in the Middle East is hardly going to make those populations love the West.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Despite it's negative rating, volland is correct.

You don't want to lose your life? Don't go to dangerous places where it's not clearly obvious that everybody is benefiting. It's not like Islamic countries welcome in western powers with open arms.

Seriously, what did you expect doing business in an oilfield in an islamic, third world country? First class hotels and Japanese style hospitality?

I can understand the anger if islamists sneak in to your country and cause damage, but go to their country? It's like going into the ghetto and getting angry at getting mugged.

Not saying it's not tragic, all loss of human life is. But getting killed is just more likely, even expected, in some areas.

-9 ( +11 / -18 )

The answer is simple.

You do not want a death toll like that? Then do not go to other countries to steal their resources, because sooner or later they may retaliate.

The profits of this enterprise do not go the algerian people. No problem, as long as they remain ignorant. But an arab spring, run by islamic militants..... it could have been foreseen... and there will be more of this.

-24 ( +11 / -30 )

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