RealNews

Tokyo Has Few Options for Iraq Hostages

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi denounced Iraqi militants threatening to kill Japanese hostages as “cowardly” and vowed Friday to keep Japan’s troops in the country despite tearful pleas from the families of the captives. Television networks repeatedly aired dramatic video of militants holding aid workers Noriaki Imai, 18, and Nahoko Takato, 34, and photojournalist Soichiro Koriyama, 32. “We want to do everything we can to see that he comes home,” said Naoko Imai, whose son, Noriaki, was among the captives. “I want the government to pull the troops out.” Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside Koizumi’s office. But as the drama unfolded and tested Japan’s commitment to the U.S.-led coalition — along with potentially threatening Koizumi’s political future — there was little he could do except remain defiant. Full Story

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