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Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

The Command Post
Hostages Released?

Fox TV is reporting that at least eight hostages have been released and the three Japanese hostages are “safe.”

No confirmation on this yet, will follow up.

Fate of Japanese hostages uncertain

Monday 12 April 2004, 4:44 Makka Time, 1:44 GMT

The lives of three Japanese hostages in Iraq are still in jeopardy, with their captors apparently threatening to start killing them unless Japan withdraws its forces

Eight foreign hostages freed

Sunday 11 April 2004, 21:39 Makka Time, 18:39 GMT

An Iraqi group says it has released eight foreign hostages following the intervention of Muslim scholars on their behalf.

A videotape aired by Aljazeera on Sunday showed eight frightened captives holding their passports and giving their nationalities. The hostages were seen guarded by masked men with arms.

The hostages were three from Pakistan, two Turks, an Indian, a Nepali and one from the Philippines.

So the Japanese were not among the released, but I wonder what "safe" means. Does anyone else have any news on this?


Still haven't been able to get a confirmation yet, though I've seen the story reported both on tv and various news sites.

I hope it is true.

Thanks for the updates michele!

A Kyodo News wire story just reported:

"An Iraqi human rights activist who claims to be a mediator for the militant group holding three Japanese hostage in Iraq said Sunday the extended deadline for Japan to pull out its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) troops will expire at 10 p.m. Monday Japan time, Radio France reported."

I didn't want to say this, but I must... I find it interesting that every time Japan has a cool cute new robot, or some hot new phone, there are a million American blogs posting about it. But now with this serious business happening to a few Japanese aid workers, the lack of posts of substance (this site and several others excluded) in the blogosphere is somewhat surprising. Japan may be one of America's closest allies on paper and in the halls of politics and finance, but I think the average American citizen/blogger has a way to before he/she really understands and respects this vital relationship.

Rio, these Japanese hostages are (hopefully) still alive. Besides, to be honest, even if they were dead, their lives' weight wouldn't matter much to non-Japanese.

The intense fightings in Fallujah were triggered by the killing of about 14 US soldiers. News reports estimate that about 500 Iraqis have been killed there over the past few days, of which about 200 hundred were women and kids.
That kind of military to civilian casualty ratio reminds me of what the Germans did during WW2 to squelch/suppress/discourage the French Résistance: the killing of a German soldier would typically result in the random rounding-up and execution of ten to twenty French civilians by the SS.


I think it is unfair to insinuate that bloggers are dazzled by toys but tune out when it comes to serious issues about life and death. There is currently a lack of information about the Japanese hostages, so there is not much that can be done except to hope and pray. Besides, some bloggers like to write about different things. The topic at hand doesn't always have to reflect what's being shown on CNN that day.

From all the reports, it seems pretty obvious that the US is cracking down hard on the insurgents and isn't being deterred by casualities on either side. It's a war, dude. What are bloggers supposed to do or say that they haven't already? Send emails to the terrorists or kidnappers in order to negotiate the hostages' release?

And you know, Japanese aren't the only foreign nationals being held hostage. There's a smorgasbord of foreigners getting themselves into trouble over there.

In the words of Marg Simpson, "hrrrmmmm....!"


Obviously, you are able to control your emotions better than I. You are a wise person.

There's a smorgasbord of foreigners getting themselves into trouble over there.
I really don't think it was their intention to get in trouble but to provide aid and document this criminal invasion by America and America's lackey followers. Oh, and that includes Japan. "Sit, Nip! Sit! Stay! Good boy! Come Nip! Come! Good boy! Now... Play dead!" I know that 3 of the hostages that have come home have been under heavy fire by, not only the government, but by private citizens as well for only having the courage to try and help someone of a Bush-ravaged country. The government is going so far as to bill these brave people the equivalent of 6000.00 USD for their flight home. They knew the risk they were taking and Koizumi knew this was likely to happen. There should be no pity or recrimanations against them, and I seriously doubt a plane ticket from Iraq costs 6 g's. During the Civil War black soldiers were used to repair roads, dig ditches and clean latrines. Now the U.S. has the most educated soldiers in the world to do it for 'em. The Japanese. Get out, Koizumi, and try being a leader again.

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イラクのFallujaでの戦闘のニュースを見ていてあまりにも報復的で行き過ぎではないかと感じていたが、それはどうやら私だけではなかったようだ。4月11日のイギリスのTelegraphの記事に、 Read More