Millennium Post

Japan govt panel meets to probe hostage killings

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita, who chairs the new committee, will gather opinions from experts on crisis management, terrorism and Middle East policies, and compile a report as early as April, government officials said on Tuesday.

Leading security officials, senior officials from both the foreign and defence ministries, as well as representatives from the National Police Agency were in attendance at Tuesday’s inaugural meeting, Xinhua news agency reported.

The investigation into the kidnapping and killings by IS of Kenji Goto, a freelance war journalist, and Haruna Yukawa, a self-styled security contractor, will look into the fact that the government had knowledge of Yukawa being captured in Syria in August last year, sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, with the outcome of the investigations aimed at protecting Japanese nationals from future
acts of terrorism.

“I ask all of you to consider measures to protect Japanese nationals abroad from terrorism,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was quoted as saying during the meeting.

“It’s extremely important for resource-poor Japan to ensure the safety of our citizens as we continue to promote the overseas operations of companies,” the top government spokesperson said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech made in Cairo during a recent Middle East tour during which he pledged $200 million to help countries affected by IS-related conflict, will also be investigated.

Some experts on the matter have suggested that Abe’s speech may have been a catalyst for the hostage crisis, as comments made by an Islamic State member in a video posted on video hosting site YouTube before the slaying of Goto and Yukawa, were aimed directly at the prime minister and the people of Japan.

The committee members will also discuss appropriate first response procedures when a similar incident takes place again, as well as protocols for gathering and sharing information with the public, once a kidnapping has taken place.



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