politics

Abe defends handling of hostage crisis

52 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI and ELAINE KURTENBACH

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Abe said. “I thought announcing Japan’s contribution to fulfill its responsibility would contribute to the international community’s effort to fight against terrorism and prevent its expansion.”

If so, U.N. would not have declined this contribution of $200 million, isn't it?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Abe said. “I thought announcing Japan’s contribution to fulfill its responsibility would contribute to the international community’s effort to fight against terrorism and prevent its expansion.”

So he thought by simply announcing Japans financial contribution, that it would PREVENT the expansion of terrorism?

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Responding to a question by an opposition lawmaker, Abe confirmed that he was aware of the hostage situation when he made the announcement.

Thank you for providing proof that you are clueless.

Abe said he wished to publicize Japan’s contribution to the fight against extremism and rejected the idea of a more cautious approach.

Right, by being the catalyst in getting 2 Japanese nationals killed. Abe is running his own agenda, and if he truly knew and respected the situation with the hostages and IS he would not have been so bold in his actions.

He is just as naive as the average Japanese person that claims he should have paid the ransom.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

there's courage and then there's endangering lives of hostages. abe is unfit to lead.

5 ( +15 / -10 )

Unfit to lead exactly Alex. Reckless and naive is a recipe for disaster. The mere fact that he has to defend his actions in a time of crisis like this is proof enough that he's unfit. I actually thought the ol' boy was going to get another tummy ache when it got tough.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Abe is not to blame for what happened to these guys. The two who were killed, however, do bear some responsibility for venturing into one of the most dangerous places in the world. Abe's longstanding goal of revising the constitution so as to aid allies like the US in their endless imperial wars--now, that's fair game, have at it. Likewise, perhaps Japanese interests in the region should be reassessed.

Perhaps getting 90% of your energy from a string of anti-democratic regimes, some of which have been known to fund radical terrorists is to be questioned. Maybe instead of sending money to the ME, as aid or payments for energy, it could be used to reinvest in alternative energy at home, up to/sadly including safer nuclear energy. Not to mention the many energy exporting countries around the world who are not autocratic slime.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

By taking on the job, Abe made himself responsible.

He failed.

Making excuses for failure is typical of Abe's mindset.

"Cover it up! Rewrite the history books! Never happened!"

Dragging the country into long protracted wars looks likely to be the next big failure.

Let's not let that happen.

2 ( +15 / -13 )

Abe said he wished to publicize Japan’s contribution to the fight against extremism, and rejected the idea of a more cautious approach.

so while the ministry was stopping magazines and publishers from talking about the abductions since November, where upon they complied to ensure the hostages safety, His Nibs knew, couldn't be bothered, goes off and does whatever.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I want to know why Abe and his government waited until after the surprise December election to announce the Yukawa and Goto kidnappings. I'd bet dollars to donuts that if the public knew about these abductions the few people that did show up would not have voted for Abe's wish list of constitutional revision and the state secrets law. You scammed the few people who believed you and the ones who always knew you were a shyster are going to use these kidnappings to help get you thrown out of office.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

By taking on the job, Abe made himself responsible.

But he wasn't responsible for the fate of these two men.

He failed.

So what was he supposed to do? Send in Special Forces to who knows where?

Making excuses for failure is typical of Abe's mindset.

All leaders have their faults. I have never seen a perfect leader. Someone will always complain.

Dragging the country into long protracted wars looks likely to be the next big failure.

Whatever it takes to defeat radical terrorism. They will never let up, nor should we.

Let's not let that happen.

Eradicate as much of the Islamists, I agree!

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

Abe is not to blame for what happened to these guys - TRUE Abe is to blame for how the situation was handled

The two who were killed, however, do bear some responsibility for venturing into one of the most dangerous places in the world. - FALSE You can be abducted or killed anywhere in life. The world is a dangerous place. We can't blame people who chose to live near Fukushima.

Abe's longstanding goal of revising the constitution so as to aid allies like the US in their endless imperial wars--now, that's fair game, have at it. - I agree with you!

I believe he should resign because he chose to focus on his political career than the situation. A snap election during a hostage situation?

Just think about it? It's rhetorical. Doesn't seem shady at all to you?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Abe has failed in his job of protecting Japanese citizens. He should resign!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@jcapan

Abe is not to blame for what happened to these guys.

Even if he is not directly to blame, he provoked the beheadings at this time by first cuddling up to Netanyahu and then posturing for the international community with his strong statement. He has also not been honest from the beginning about the fact hostage negotiations have been ongoing for months and instead he tried to use this tragic incident to advance his militarist agenda and appear as a strong leader.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

I want to know why Abe and his government waited until after the surprise December election to announce the Yukawa and Goto kidnappings

Yukawa's kidnapping was reported here on JT in August 2014.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/a-broken-man-living-on-dreams-pulls-japan-into-syria-hostage-drama

1 ( +5 / -4 )

As much as I dislike Abe, I can't really blame him for what happened here. I blame the daesh. Only.

However, if Abe didn't like to boast and to pretend he was the man so much, perhaps taking a slightly more cautious approach (while still spending money) would have been better in this case. Especially since he knew Yukawa and Goto were being held...

I suspect many countries contribute to the fight against the daesh, but do so without screaming out to the world that they do so. Diplomacy and all that...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

IS has handed Abe a backhanded gift in that he might get the constitutional reforms he's wanted for a while to create a more robust Japanese military, but prior Japanese foreign policy really limited his options during this situation. I can't stand the guy but I really don't know what else he (or anyone else involved on the Japanese side) could have done given the present realities. On the other hand, the idea of "rescue missions" in the future should something like this happen again seems almost science fantasy-like in its remoteness and unlikelihood of success. That stuff works out well in anime and live-action movies based on anime, but even the mighty US stumbles when carrying out highly complex operations. One mistake and you just get a bigger mess.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Abe has failed in his job of protecting Japanese citizens. He should resign!

Really? Resign yes, but not for the reason you wrote here. How many Japanese were murdered, killed in automobile accidents, died in hospitals due to illness, got themselves injured, what ever else HERE in JAPAN during the time that Abe has been in office?

Using your misguided logic he has nothing to protect Japanese citizens here at home, but you expect that he is responsible for people who knowingly go into harm's way?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It seems that newspapers knew about the hostages were told to keep quiet about the hostages months ago, and they did. It is a pity Abe did not follow the same advice. Why did he have to talk about giving the money?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/01/japan-s-prime-minister-knew-he-was-putting-hostage-lives-at-risk.html

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Those who are blaming Abe for these despicable killings are the living proof for ISIS that their cruel tactics are effective to make the public feel hostile toward the government. You don't realize that you are just acting the way that those terrorists want you to act, and thus you are naively supporting them. One of their objectives is to instill fear into public's mind and make them put pressure on the government. Those two guys were already kidnapped before Abe publisized Japanese contribution against ISIS. Did ISIS try to release them? No? Would they ever have released them, even if Japan had not taken part in this fight against terrorism. Of course not. They would have killed them sooner or later. They were just looking for timing.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Abe is and always has been a total failure. He put the hostages into focus with ISIS when he went to the ME calling them out like a young schoolboy. He is directly responsible for the deaths of these two citizens. He should resign but of course will not and will cynically use these deaths to put more Japanese in harms way by modifying the constitution to recreate the 1930s (in his deluded mind).

Japan should stay out of ME politics. It is a losers game as Russia and more recently the USA has relearned.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It might be at least not best time for Abe to visit Middle East countries during two Japanese were captured since last year. Abe and his NSC already knew that. He should have listened to any potential risks more carefully from his advisors. As a result his visit and $200 million aid seem to have provoked the IS group whatever. I just wonder if Abe would do the same when he faced other hostages by IS again?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It seems that newspapers knew about the hostages were told to keep quiet about the hostages months ago, and they did.

Why do some persist in claiming this? Yukawa's kidnapping and a video of his capture were reported online, in print and on TV. It was all over the Japanese media in August when it happened. It was on all the wide shows here as well.

As I mentioned above, it was reported here on JT, too.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Declaration of War, or just Lost in Translation? Abe's announcement on aid as reported in the English language, online Iraqi News

“Should we leave terrorism or weapons of mass destruction to spread in this region, the loss imparted upon the international community would be immeasurable.”

"I will pledge assistance of a total of about 200 million U.S. dollars for those countries contending with ISIL, to help build human capacities, infrastructure, and so on,” he added.

And just look at the URL:

http://www.iraqinews.com/arab-world-news/japans-abe-pledges-200-million-mideast-states-battling-isis/

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@black jack

you forget they were hostages for months. If they were going to be killed for the sake of it, they would have done so before. Had Abe not shot his mouth off, and followed the directives of the foreign affairs like the rest of the media, they'd still be hostages today. At least alive. By showing up ISIL publicly while still having hostages, they were happy to bring Japan down a few pegs. What an ass. If this were the Obama administration they'd be howls for his resignation.

Even worse, the deaths will be used to bring back the 1930's constitution. Goto reported on how war's ruined countries, and his death will be used to do so again.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It was a tough decision to make, but I agree with his decision. All prayers go to the victims' family. Hopefully everyone will learn from this as a warning to not put themselves is such great danger.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It appears the Foreign Ministry urged Goto to not go to Syria three times but he went depite the warnings.

Goto's Family's official message kind of sums up what they thought about the tragic outcome for the first thing they stated was that they are SORRY for the commotion Kenji has caused to the Japanese public, Japanese government, and the governments of other countries. And then THANKED the same people for their efforts for his release.

So no. Any rational governments and their leaders don't compromise or halt their policies due to unilateral actions (heroic, selfish, noble, whatever) of few of their citizens.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I briefly saw a Japanese man on TV lamenting on Goto's loss and saying that the plight of children and families in that area of the world should be reported on. It seemed to me at the time that this guy was saying he was going next. Saw this for such a short time on my TV. Not sure if this man was also a reporter. Just curious if ISIS has any other Japanese hostages?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, five thumbs down for posting a direct quote from Abe, lol. Did I misread the qote or come to the wrong conclusion of what he said?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Abe has failed in his job of protecting Japanese citizens. He should resign!

Should it be the responsibility of every Prime Minister to follow around each Japanese citizen that decides to travel to a dangerous country and provide protection so they are not kidnapped and beheaded by insane Islamic extremists? It isn't possible for the government to be everywhere it's citizens decide to go. Individuals deciding to travel outside of Japan to such dangerous countries must assume responsibility for their own safety. I certainly feel very sorry for Goto and Yukawa but blaming Abe is not reasonable. ISIS wants to kill people and show the world how ruthless and merciless they are. No leader can be held to account for the insane actions of a terrorist group.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Allegedly speaking, if Obama kept some residual U.S. forces in Iraq instead of wasting $69 billion in Afghanistan to nowhere, Abe might not have to deal with this problem. Besides, these heinous Muslim extremists have no respect for the infidels as most Japanese expected thereof. As said, the world is facing the radical Muslim extremist's problem.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The questioning of Abe's decision to provide humanitarian assistance is unwarranted - I would say it falls in the unfortunate category of "reflex" opposition.

However, Abe has unfortunately fallen short in his response to Goto's death - where Abe should have shown appreciation and respect for Goto's efforts to show the plight of children and civilians in war, Abe instead has responded that journalists don't belong there - implying Goto's work was useless - and taken a faux stance that Goto both could and should have been rescued. (Never mind Goto's whereabouts were unknown, and sacrificing more lives to save Goto would only have added to tragedy of Goto trying to save Yukawa's life).

Does Abe prefer journalists who act like obedient miniature dogs and don't go outside?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Dude, Abe & cabinet arent to blame for these recent killings. Abe has a lot on his plate these days, but lets not point fingers of blame. Im tired of hearing Japanese people saying negative things about their government and every PM who takes office. Perhaps they should vote wiser or run for office themselves.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Does Abe prefer journalists who act like obedient miniature dogs and don't go outside?

You've been here long enough to answer that one yourself, Craig.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Abe defends handling of hostage crisis

Well he's hardly going to criticise it, is he?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@slumdog. Yes, the article you are referring to made Yukawa look like the fool he is and portrayed the government as concerned but not willing to help. The was also in the lectronic equivalent of "page 6" and hardly given the attention it merited. It wasn't until January of this year that the government even expressed an interest in either men. Why the change? Could it be a good chance to deploy the SDF in future rescue missions which would naturally lead to the creation of a military and changing of article 9 which Abe has referred to as his "life's work"? I don't think Abe is responsible for either man's death nor do I think these are necessarily bad goals in and of themselves but information seems to have been hid from the public just before a snap election whose timining made no sense surrounding topics that are very controversial. Just a coinciden?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am not Shinzo Abe.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Allegedly speaking, if Obama kept some residual U.S. forces in Iraq instead of wasting $69 billion in Afghanistan to nowhere,

What? The fake war in Iraq started 12 years ago. And no, Obama did not start it. He was forced to end it however.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"Even if he is not directly to blame, he provoked the beheadings at this time by first cuddling up to Netanyahu and then posturing for the international community with his strong statement. He has also not been honest from the beginning about the fact hostage negotiations have been ongoing for months and instead he tried to use this tragic incident to advance his militarist agenda and appear as a strong leader."

As someone who has nothing but contempt for Netanyahu and Abe (as well as countless other world "leaders"), I have to respectfully disagree. Abe's agenda is without questions horrible for Japan but he could be Shii Kazuo and ISIS would have eventually found some pretext for killing those two. Now, will he exploit this for his longstanding goals--sure and with plenty of support from fellow neoliberal warmongers abroad, bound and determined to protect the interests of the 1%. Much like Bush attacking Iraq, never an opportunity left to waste.

I guess what I'm saying is this is trivial in the whole scheme of things, the gradual movement to the right this country is experiencing, the population collectively praying he'll help the economy, as competent stewardship in the wrong direction is better than the failed alternative we witnessed during the DPJ years, incompetent and ideologically adrift. I think if what I perceive as our mutual goal is to argue against such reactionary politics, we might want to dismiss such specious claims. It seems nakedly political, much like what the DPJ is arguing--turn the tables on them and ask what would you have done differently and it'd be crickets.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The people in here who defend Mr.Abe sound exactly like the sex-slave deniers. They use one phrase again and again ad infinitum hoping to shout down the critics.

In this case it's, "These two were taken hostage months ago" (or words to that effect) it's like a bleated mantra.

Yes, they were taken hostage months ago, but none of the Abe supporters has answered the response, that, knowing this , should the PM have been flaunting his wad in the ME, and naming ISIS by name ? None of them see the causal relationship between these events.

He is a snake, and is playing a long game, though many still refuse to believe.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Abe owes the tax-paying Japanese people a full public accounting of his government's efforts to resolve the hostage crisis including a plausible explanation of what went wrong, ie., what they did and did not do in their attempt to rescue the two men held by IS. The passage of secrecy laws last year forfeited the trust of all right-thinking (NOT right-wing) citizens. Here would be an opportunity for Abe to restore some of this lost trust by ordering a public inquiry into the hostage fiasco. Somehow I have the feeling that the opposite will happen. He will use the newly-minted secrecy laws to prevent disclosure of any outside pressure (the White House?) or conceal egregious mistakes made during negotiations.Now is the time for Japanese citizens to stand up to Abe before he drags us all into further confrontation with ME sectarian warriors.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Abe didn't send these two guys over there to get beheaded. It's not on him.

What is on Abe is being way too cavalier on international diplomacy, all of a sudden puffing his chest out on each trip he makes, peddling weapons and nuclear technology, feeling an inflated sense of his own importance.

He just got the wind knocked out of him by a reality gut punch: Japan has no real contacts, no leverage, no cache, no experience in the Middle East, his military capabilities are unknown and untested to say the least, and his own party will go all Brutus on Caesar if he makes any mistakes and they smell blood in the water.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Goto and Yukawa's fate were sealed the moment they were captured by IS. They don't want or need $200 million. They get more leverage with the beheading videos to further their message and gain recruits. I'm not defending Abe, but I don't think the outcome would have been different with another man in the chair. How he handles the militarization of Japan, going forward, is another story.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Gotta love all the Abe critics! No matter what Abe does, he is to blame! It could be anyone who's face the blamers don't like. Fact is that in such a situation there is no right or wrong. The government should never give in to terrorists demands. The fate of the victims depended mostly on the moods of the terrorist and to some degree on diplomatic juggling related to Jordan which was very unstable to begin with. But that wasn't Abe's fault.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Yes, they were taken hostage months ago, but none of the Abe supporters has answered the response, that, knowing this , should the PM have been flaunting his wad in the ME, and naming ISIS by name ? None of them see the causal relationship between these events.

Stupid question. What you are essentially advocating is for Japan to never pledge such aid until all Japanese hostages are safe and accounted for. If all nations' leaders acted the same way, hostages and occupied cities here and there would be the least of the problem for there will already been an actual establishment of a terrorist state.

What if Abe gave the speech last year? Do you honestly think that would of prevented both Yukawa and Goto from going to Syria? Do you honestly believe that their eventual fate would have been different even if Abe did not make the pledge? If so, when did ISIL become a organization that can be reasoned with? I must of missed something. Enlighten me.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

samwatters

I want to know why Abe and his government waited until after the surprise December election to announce the Yukawa and Goto kidnappings.

Me too.

Slumdog

Yukawa's kidnapping was reported here on JT in August 2014.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/a-broken-man-living-on-dreams-pulls-japan-into-syria-hostage-drama

Nikkan Gendai describes Abe's response to the crisis: “Japanese Prime Minister Abe committed a triple fiasco”

1) Abe dispatched a notably pro-Israel Japanese lawmaker to Jordan to deal with the crisis.

2) Abe delivered his response to ISIS's demands standing in front of an Israeli flag.

3) By immediately stating Japan would never pay a ransom, Abe effectively delivered a death sentence to the two men.

https://globalvoicesonline.org/2015/01/23/shinzo-abes-efforts-to-respond-to-isis-ransom-demands-results-in-triple-disaster-of-fumbles/

Abe is responsible.

If he wanted to save Japanese lives he failed.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Sorry, Nigelboy I can't enlighten those who are stuck in their misguided beliefs, or those that have their tongues stuck down Abe's trousets.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"Abe said he wished to publicize Japan’s contribution to the fight against extremism, and rejected the idea of a more cautious approach"

Which is why he doesn't take his own, "I am most responsible for the safety of Japanese" seriously. He does not take the lives of Japanese seriously, and the proof is in his reckless endangerment of the hostages and the nation. He should resign.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

If he wanted to save Japanese lives he failed.

Not sure you understand how "not cooperating with terrorists" works. Giving in means fair game on any Japanese national they can get their hands on. Pay enough and maybe someone in a nearby country gets shoved into a car and becomes the next victim.

But "he" (Abe) caused them to change tactics by offering a prisoner exchange, which is much better than paying a ransom.

Negotiating means IS backpedaled, even Israel does prisoner exchanges. And 2 for 1 in fact which shows how IS was (is) desperate for some positive propaganda after failing to take Kobane.

Failing to produce the Jordanian pilot, and not getting their woman back, makes them looking even weaker, externally, and more dangerous, internally.

So this is here we are -

Most of the world wants IS dead.

At least some potential recruits (the smarter ones) are wondering how wise it would be to join them.

Not so long ago, IS "executed" a bunch of "deserters". That tells me a lot.

And the rest are steadily being killed off. My guess is a lot of them are regretting signing up.

Anyway, I don't imagine Abe just waited it out, (it's clear this was not the case) but even if he did nothing, it was actually the best thing he could have done.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

As far as we know the ongoing negotiation for the hostages might have won their release. When Abe went to the ME pretending like he was a player in the fight against terror, the value of the hostages went up to $200 million. Abe did that. And by not negotiating he essentially signed their death warrants. He is clearly totally out of his element and if he had any sense of shame about his failure in the last week he would resign. But of course he will not. The best we can say is that this is the beginning of the end of Abe. Hopefully no more Japanese lives are lost due to his incredible stupidity.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Pay the money, zero issue and walk away and never look back. Sadly now Japan has made itself a target. Stupid.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

To think IS wouldn't have demanded a ransom or killed these two men regardless if Abe pledged 200mil to fight terror or not is absurd. We have no idea what IS's plan was if they had one and it's pointless to argue as if we know option B would've been a 100% success.

After these two men are killed, it's all hindsight. If we paid the ransom or freed the terrorist, who's to say that these two men would be let go unharmed or that IS still wouldn't make threats about the future.

Abe and the J-Gov were dealing with a very unstable group who'll kill at a moment's notice. Paying off terrorists doesn't promise freedom or end the threat from terrorists. Ask countries like France who have paid and still have been attacked. America is supposed to have the most advanced military in the military and they've failed on rescue missions.

What if's go nowhere and distracts us from thinking about preventing future threats.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

By immediately stating Japan would never pay a ransom, Abe effectively delivered a death sentence to the two men.

This is standard policy in most governments. Paying a ransom would put a price tag on every Japanese person's head.

Koizumi stated the same policy when a young man, who was later beheaded, was shown captured in a video early in the Iraq conflict.

ISIS killed Yukawa and Goto. There was nothing that was going to change that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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