Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

How Does One Spell "Clueless?"

What's up with this Japanese kidnap victim? Seems he may have caught the Rachel Corey syndrome too close to Iraq. Truly I feel for him and his family, but there is something weird here:

TOKYO - Shosei Koda did not go to Iraq (news - web sites) to distribute aid, reconstruct the country or strike it rich in the oil business. He was not connected with Japan's government or its armed forces.

So in the hours after Japan was shocked with the news that the 24-year-old had been taken hostage by militants and threatened with death, the question emerged: why was Koda in such a dangerous place?

The government said it also was perplexed.

"I don't know why Mr. Koda entered Iraq, where the most dangerous situation prevails all over the country," Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said Wednesday. "Our government has quite often asked people not to enter the nation."

A video of Koda was posted on the Internet on Tuesday, saying he had been kidnapped by followers of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and would be killed unless Japan withdraws its troops from Iraq.

Koda was the first Japanese taken hostage in Iraq since April, when militants captured two groups of Japanese civilians and threatened their lives.

Koda's father appealed for his son's life in a videotape aired Wednesday by Al-Jazeera.
"What I want Shosei's kidnappers to understand is that he is not an activist supporting the stay of the Japanese troops in Iraq nor the American policy there," his father, Masumi Koda, said.
"On the contrary, his sympathy for the Iraqis and his empathy for their crisis is what made him go to Iraq," he added, speaking in Japanese with an Arabic language voiceover.

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