Japanese hostage update

The first three Japanese hostages kidnapped in Iraq have now returned to Japan, accompanied by Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aizawa, who met them in Dubai, where he had been standing by. Yesterday, we noted that their behavior —— two of them expressed a desire to stay in Iraq, and none of them apologized for the trouble they had caused the government and others —— was consistent with the hypothesis that they may have been faking their kidnapping. That behavior has now radically changed.

Unlike their immediate response in Iraq, they are now claiming via their chosen spokesmen to be fatigued and stressed—out. As the liberal Mainich Shimbun reports,

Lawyers working for them said that the three former hostages were unable to talk with the press for the present because they suffered from mental stress.

Family members of freelance journalist Soichiro Koriyama, 32, volunteer worker Nahoko Takato, 34, and non—governmental organization leader Noriaki Imai, 18, and doctors underscored the lawyers' comments.

"They are mentally fatigued," a doctor who saw them said.
Even more striking, they have started apologizing effusively for the trouble they have caused others, as Japanese etiquette requires:

Shuichi Takato, brother of Nahoko Takato, read a statement on behalf of his sister.

"I am sorry for causing so much trouble. I haven't been able to clearly come to terms with the situation since my release," the statement said. "I need time before telling what I experienced."

The messages written by Koriyama and Imai also apologized for causing trouble.

Mainichi also adds the following helpful information:

Japan's police plan to question the three people about the details of their hostage ordeal.

Now, that's very interesting, isn't it? Japanese police do not have jurisdiction in Iraq. But they would have jurisdiction, if there were fraudulent acts, which caused the Japanese government to expend resources to deal with a crisis that wasn't genuine.

Of course, the mood change among the former hostages may simply be due to the passage of time since the euphoria of their release. And, traveling from the Persian Gulf to Japan via commercial airliner can be quite stress just of itself. The case remains quite open.

But the hostage crisis commanded the full attention of Japan. Ratings measurement services in Japan tell us that fully forty percent of the population of Japan watched live coverage of their release.

We'll stay on top of the story, as it develops.

The first three Japanese hostages kidnapped in Iraq have now returned to Japan, accompanied by Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aizawa, who met them in Dubai, where he had been standing by. Yesterday, we noted that their behavior —— two of them expressed a desire to stay in Iraq, and none of them apologized for the trouble they had caused the government and others —— was consistent with the hypothesis that they may have been faking their kidnapping. That behavior has now radically changed.

Unlike their immediate response in Iraq, they are now claiming via their chosen spokesmen to be fatigued and stressed—out. As the liberal Mainich Shimbun reports,

Lawyers working for them said that the three former hostages were unable to talk with the press for the present because they suffered from mental stress.

Family members of freelance journalist Soichiro Koriyama, 32, volunteer worker Nahoko Takato, 34, and non—governmental organization leader Noriaki Imai, 18, and doctors underscored the lawyers' comments.

"They are mentally fatigued," a doctor who saw them said.
Even more striking, they have started apologizing effusively for the trouble they have caused others, as Japanese etiquette requires:

Shuichi Takato, brother of Nahoko Takato, read a statement on behalf of his sister.

"I am sorry for causing so much trouble. I haven't been able to clearly come to terms with the situation since my release," the statement said. "I need time before telling what I experienced."

The messages written by Koriyama and Imai also apologized for causing trouble.

Mainichi also adds the following helpful information:

Japan's police plan to question the three people about the details of their hostage ordeal.

Now, that's very interesting, isn't it? Japanese police do not have jurisdiction in Iraq. But they would have jurisdiction, if there were fraudulent acts, which caused the Japanese government to expend resources to deal with a crisis that wasn't genuine.

Of course, the mood change among the former hostages may simply be due to the passage of time since the euphoria of their release. And, traveling from the Persian Gulf to Japan via commercial airliner can be quite stress just of itself. The case remains quite open.

But the hostage crisis commanded the full attention of Japan. Ratings measurement services in Japan tell us that fully forty percent of the population of Japan watched live coverage of their release.

We'll stay on top of the story, as it develops.