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Rally for hostage


Protesters holding placards chant "Save Kenji" during a rally in front of the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on Sunday. Around 200 people took part in the rally in support of Kenji Goto, the remaining Japanese captive held by Islamic State militants.

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I guess I can understand why the Japanese are now so interested in Syria now that two of their own have been taken. But, after countless mails from friends asking me "did you see what happened?" I'm a bit saddened. There is no sense of a global family .... What's happening now is not new. Countless people have been held hostage and murdered. Humanitarians, Journalists, activists, tourists, and yes -- soldiers too. Just 2 weeks ago -- 11 French in their home country for satirical cartoons... Depressing

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They hurt me every time they talk and act. Won't you stand with the weak?

The weak? Yes. The stupid? No...

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might be better if they use japanese phrases, but looks more like all of them are in english. they may express it in a different way but at least thats shows how they care for the second victim.

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ISIS kills ONE Japanese guy, threatens another.

US drones kill HUNDREDS, many of them women and children who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.


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So in their minds, boycotting Israel and treating ISIS like Lord Voldemort would make ISIS guarantee the safety of Japanese in the region? Good grief! What planet do these people live on.

@ WilliB: This is why the common man in Japan has no real clue as to what is going on in the world. If they think that ISIS will respect their Article 9 in their constitution they are sadly mistaken. They don't seem to get it that the big Buddah in Kamekura represents everything that ISIS is against, and would love to see it blown up if they ever came here because it offends them.

I can't wait to see the normal monthly protestors outside the US bases who hold up their "No War in Iraq" signs and blame it all on the US. These people really have no clue about what's going on there.

I'm not saying one needs to have a Masters in Diplomacy to get the big picture, but they don't seem to realize that the world outsid of Japan doesn't care about pacifist Japan, or if they agree with US, Israel, Britain, etc. All they care about is how are you showing reverence to their religion, and if you are not a believer, then you are subject to their will, and their rules which means death to the infidels.

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Dont get me wrong, its a terrible situation, but how about the JP gov take care of those still displaced and living in shacks in Fukushima before worrying about those who chose to go to an area controlled by brutal terrorists?

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" http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/japan-works-to-free-remaining-isis-hostage-kenji-goto-1.2930935 "

So they are protesting Abe for visiting Israel and for mentioning ISIS by name? So in their minds, boycotting Israel and treating ISIS like Lord Voldemort would make ISIS guarantee the safety of Japanese in the region? Good grief! What planet do these people live on.

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In the world of journalism, competition is also tight. If you ask me, I won't do the same thing as Kenji (that's why I am not a journalist) But the conflict zones can give him more scoop and way better stories than the ones that were already told outside of it. What kind of stories will he get outside the conflict areas? Might as well copy the reports done by CNN. He took the risk and sometimes in their professions they really have to take it. What if he succeeded? imagine the stories that he can bring back and tell, unfortunately that is the nature of his job and too bad he is really passionate in what he does, I will not blame or criticize him for that. Ghandi won't become great if he didn't risk his life protesting against the British. Great things requires great risks, and great men takes it.

Plus where is the conflict zone? that whole area is at war, today this place might be safe but the next day it could be taken by ISIS. Plus are you suggesting that journalists should skip potential stories outside the danger zone?

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Some protesters' voices here:


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@ ReformedBasher:

I agree with you that if you go to any country and look at the latest protest, and ask the people protesting what are they there for and you probably would get the same amount of blank stares and not knowing as people have pointed out on this board. But not to just "bash Japan" but they (the Japanese) like to think of themselves as unique in the world, and the rest of us don't seem to be able to quite understand what it is to be "Japanese." If that is the general feeling, then so be it, but what I have tried to point out is that line of thinking will leave one clueless as to what is going on, both at home and abroad.

As far as some have said about the journalist, no the press shouldn't shy away from conflict and these types of stories need to be told. But, they need to understand that they do so at their own risks and if governments are really going to stand by the right to free expression, then they need to make sure that when these same journalist make it back and report on what they find, that it is not buried somewhere if it goes against said governments "official policy." There are places all over the world where nut jobs are killing the innocent (Boko Haram in Africa) and we get scant news because the news is not widely reported, or if it is, a one time sensational story to spike ratings and then on to the next crisis.

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WilliB: Fourth time, I think. :)

roughneck: "Tell them to protest to the Muslims....It is their brothers who is holding Kenji."

They can protest to whomever they choose, and one of those people Shinzo Abe, but if they are protesting about government action/inaction the message needs to be something else, like, "Against involvement in ME wars!" or, "Don't support the war on terror", whether you agree it's right or wrong. Using the "I am Charlie" movement (or even the "I'm not Charlie") to show so solidarity.... on something.... for Goto doesn't make sense anywhere until they make clear WHAT they are protesting.

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Tell them to protest to the Muslims....It is their brothers who is holding Kenji.

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Maybe a first in the comments section, but I agree with smithinjapan. These protesters seem awfully confused.

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I am NOT Kenji and will never be because I would never leave a two-week old baby and another child of mine behind in order to seek fame in a naive attempt to personally free a person who half-consciously wanted to die anyway. Kenji was after excitment and fame, that is why he was recording his whole trip - he wanted to emerge out of it as a hero who personally saved someone and had a great story to tell to everyone, he wanted to shoot to fame, to win journalistic prizes, air time, etc. And what about the wife, children, his parents? What about his country which is now spending millions in order to organize his rescue and is being held hostage itself.

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Makes zero sense. I understand they want to borrow a world-wide catch phrase, and there is the tenuous relationship that Charlie was killed by terrorists, but that was about freedom of speech and how it cost the life of a man in his own nation, who was doing nothing but working in his office. Goto went WILLINGLY into hostile territory, after another person who did the same (Haruna for stupider reasons), and it had nothing to do with freedom of speech or anything of the sort. So what is the message here? I understand they want to support Goto, but what exactly does that mean? Do they support terrorism and want the government to give in?

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I can't fault these people for showing support for Kenji Goto. It doesn't matter whether "I am Charlie" fits the situation exactly or not: have you missed the hundreds of stupid "Je suis..." copycat memes proliferating around the world for totally unrelated or rather flippant subjects/issues? It happens...and this situation is closer to most in that the victims here were are being threatened by radical Islamic terrorists, just as in Paris.

The fact that most of these demonstrator's signs were written in English shows they are not only talking to Abe, but to the world. If you really want to make waves around the world, Japan, it's about time you found at least one person in government or society who can speak very fluent English (and arouse greater empathy for your causes.)

I think that journalists should be off limits for terrorism. PERIOD. Call me naive, but in this case... I am Kenji.

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It can be a hard call for "real" journalism in conflict zones but if you go too far, you become a liability. Actually your kidnappers may differ on that, because you become their asset.

This is typical of what I'm reading from this site... Japanese are clueless, Goto is clueless, the government is clueless. Seems a lot of readers take liberty with reality. None of the three are clueless, but I get to hear about such and such a co-worker or students, etc who have no clue. I think you'll find the same people exist everywhere. And to those who say otherwise, I went back home for a week earlier in the year, and the folk there are exactly the same as here. So save your (not you, noypikantoku) nonsense for someone more gullible than yourself.

The Japanese government have done the same thing as everybody else. By not cooperating with ISIS scum, they deny them power. In the long run, I also believe this the most effective policy.

As for the protesters, I respect their support of Goto. Nothing wrong with a show of support, even if just mostly symbolic at this stage. Good luck to him if that helps.

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Who funded the trips of these two guys? Kenji, may have funded himself (who was he working for, if he is a journalist? Self-employed?)

Yukawa; selling cat food and being a gun otaku is not going to get the kind of money together to fund an 'adventure' like this, especially when we look at his past. I bet his Dad funded this!

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Any likelihood that Jordan would OK this swap? Can't find anything in the news.

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I don't approve of what this guy did (as if my opinion matters) and I wonder how much of his action was to do with rescuing the other guy, and how much was self-promotion. But I don't know him personally.

So what do you suggest Journalists like Kenji Goto to do? to shut their mouths and ignore what's happening in the real world and only report on things that are not dangerous like AKB 48 ? don't you appreciate that this guy risked his life to still keep the people updated of what is going on out there? Don't you admire his passion on what he does? despite of Yukawa's stupidity he still followed his story even if Yukawa was already ignored by their government. Kenji Goto is a hardcore journalists and I salute people like him for risking their lives to keep people like us informed while we are in the comforts of our desks and electronic devices.

The problem is not Kenji Goto, it's ISIS and how Japanese government handled this situation! And admire these protesters for realizing that someone's b**t needs to be kicked.

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" if Goto gets free, "

Snowball´s chance in hell of that. ISIS killed the lower-value hostage first to increase pressure; Goto will be next very shortly. I am still unsure of what exactly these sign-holders want. Do they want Abe to pay up? Do they want him to stop any humanitarian aid for ISIS victims? Do they want him to support ISIS? Do they want to impress ISIS? They don´t say.

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And if Kenji dies then Abe will argue that Japan needs to upgrade the constitution to better protect Japanese citizens

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Do they ever have an original idea? (nope). I am Kenji. As other posters have pointed out, this is an adoption of something from the west, which they have got completely wrong. It is the same as when those politicians here started using 'Yes We Can'. Cringe.

As for this situation; those two brought it on themselves, pure and simple. One of them is dead, and if Goto gets free, then the more reasonable of the two will have survived, which is alright with me.

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Most of the Japanese I've talked to do NOT feel like the ones in the pic holding the sign. This grown man knew the risks, made the decision, and may pay for it with his head. For the family of the journalist, it must be hard, and no mother should ever have to live through this nightmare of watching her son in the hands of killers. Maybe Kenji should have thought of that before trying to become a "martyr."

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As I said before, how much is a Japanese life worth?

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I don't approve of what this guy did (as if my opinion matters) and I wonder how much of his action was to do with rescuing the other guy, and how much was self-promotion. But I don't know him personally.

Assuming he was doing what he thought was right, I'd have to approve of him trying to right a wrong. This was his "crusade" against the actions of ISIS. Yeah, he took an insane risk and failed. But he's not the bad guy here, it's the ISIS, and if they didn't kill, enslave, kidnap people, he would not have been there. I think we should focus on who the bad guys really are, not a couple of "misguided" do-gooders.

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quite ridiculous response, I am much more in tune with the folks that make laugh out of it on twitter. Fact is they both went knowingly and illegally to a war that Japan has no part in, I don't see why that would be treated any differently than someone executed for crimes in a foreign country , Japanese government should just ignore the demands and tell IS to go look elsewhere ( where sun dont shine ) .

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Meh, you know more about ME history than them, they could probably kick your ass with their knowledge of ancient East Asian history. Besides if they ever wished to catch up with you on ME historical knowledge all they would have to do is read wikipedia for their lunch break, lets not pretend we are experts, how many Americans had a clue what was going on in the ME pre 9/11.

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Gosh, those Japanese, right? I think it's really important you guys educate them in the proper nuance and semantics of adapting a punchy Internet slogan.

I don't think that the Japanese should be educated in the proper nuance of English in this case, but the nuances of the group who took them hostage and kiled one. I tried to explain the situation to some Japanese co-workers of mine, and they had no idea of what was going on in the Middle East and ISIS. They all thought it had something to do with Abe wanting to change the Japanese constitution, or from the impacts of what Bush had done. When I tried to explain to them that the difference between Sunni and Shia has been going on since 600 A.D. they had no idea what I was talking about.

In part, I think they need to be taught the real reasons of the conflict in Syria and what ISIS represents and the danger that Japan will face one day.

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Gosh, those Japanese, right? I think it's really important you guys educate them in the proper nuance and semantics of adapting a punchy Internet slogan. And to really rub it in, tack on something about the state of English education here. Nicely done.

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Misguidedly copying the phrase "je suis Charlie" - is my guess. May be not a good idea if you want sympathy from ISIS

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OK, so they just want to express solidarity with Goto. I still don´t understand why why prance around Abe`s residence. Shouldn´t they be in front of the Saudi and US embassies, seeing that ISIS represents Saudi Wahabi fundamentalism and that the US has been supporting the Wahabi "rebels" in Syria, which created the ISIS state in the first place?

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They got a Japanese so now I care.''

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I disagree with Harvey's views. The "Je suis Charlie" phrase was exactly what Nessie above says, about solidarity. It says that if you want to win, you'll have to kill me too. All mouth maybe, but I don't see anyone else around here doing anything better to save the guy.

I find it interesting that some would say that "you'll have to kill me too" in these types of protests, yet when wars or fighting actually occurs, all we hear is that it is just for "big business" or corporate greed and when one tries to get the teachers and students to sing the national anthem in this country, it is just something that is done by the "nationalist" and the right wing cooks.

These guys made their own decisions to go there. And though I don't think that they were wise, I still respect them for going. These people with these solidarity signs need to understand also that those people who killled them, will also want them dead for their own beliefs and would stop at nothing to do so.

So before you go about protesting and saying that "you have to kill me too" you had better be prepared to face an enemy who thinks that they have the religious authority to do what they do in the name of their god, and would think nothing of it to kill as many women and children as possible to get their point across.

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Judging from the photo and what has been on the news the protest had mostly retirees with nothing better to do. A ward community center in Tokyo organized this. Sadly, few young people even know who Kenji Goto is. That to me is what's sad.

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Havey Pekar - I agree completely. This situation is completely different.

Charlie Hebdo was honoring a French tradition of scathing and fearless satire, and doing so in their own home country where they had every expectation of safety and the usual whining from everyone who wasn't laughing their heads off. Instead 11 people were killed at the magazine.

Haruna Yukawa (not Kenji Goto!) was an individual actively pursuing self-destruction by traveling voluntarily into a dangerous area and hanging out with dangerous people. That he died is tragic, just like any suicide. Unfortunately he doesn't make a very good poster child, having been unemployed, attempted to castrate himself and suicidal, so Japanese people don't want to hold up posters saying "I am Haruna!".

Kenji Goto had legitimate work reasons for being in Syria, had a track record of fine work on humanitarian issues, and is a fine example of an international citizen. Kenji Goto is still alive, and hopefully will come back home after a prisoner exchange.

But to attempt to equate Haruna's death with the Charlie Hebdo massacre? Ridiculous.

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I disagree with Harvey's views. The "Je suis Charlie" phrase was exactly what Nessie above says, about solidarity. It says that if you want to win, you'll have to kill me too. All mouth maybe, but I don't see anyone else around here doing anything better to save the guy.

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That makes zero sense JWithers, IS are killing hundreds of Arabs everyday, I dont see any Je suis...or I am...placards from westerners about them, so going by your logic the next time a westerner ends up on telly wearing an orange jumpsuit its 'karma' for you not caring enough....ridiculous logic.

-7 ( +3 / -11 )

I'm sorry but I think these guys are at least 3 weeks late. Japan was not there for Je suis Charlie. Turn out here for this show of solidarity is low because that's karma.

You need get with the global community if you want the them to come to you in your time of need.

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If you are weak, then why on earth would you want to go where a fundamentalist muslim army is fighting any kind of government?

Read Harvey's comment, he explaons the basics....

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I understand some Japanese people want to say something because they're angry one of their own was killed, and I don't want to make light of this, but that "I am Kenji" sign is exactly what is wrong with English education in this country.

In Japan, you cut & past something you see on the internet ("I am Charlie") that is popular and then slap it on your store front or in your ad or on your protest poster and think it'll mean the same thing.

No. "I am Charlie" was about freedom of speech, expression, and anti-censorship. Kenji went to an incredibly dangerous area on his own and even said himself, if something happens to me, it is my fault. He was going to help a friend, I understand, but he really just compounded the problem. Instead of one man missing, we now have two and a hostage crisis. This is why you hostage situations with IS to more skilled people.

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They hurt me every time they talk and act. Won't you stand with the weak?

-10 ( +4 / -13 )

They hurt Kenji, they hurt me.

Then I am afraid that they are going to hurt you...

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They hurt Kenji, they hurt me.

I am Kenji.

-15 ( +7 / -21 )

If saving Goto means having to negotiate with terrorists...sorry, that just isn't a very good idea.

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They're showing solidarity.

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I am not even sure what that is supposed to mean. Abe did not create ISIS, and Abe did not tell Goto to travel to IS. What exactly are they protesting?

21 ( +22 / -3 )

From Japan spread and link "I AM KENJI" all over the world.

-6 ( +8 / -13 )

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