Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Islamic State takes Japanese hostages

Islamic State (IS), a rebel group in Syria released a video to threaten Japan with the lived of two hostages.

They demanded $200 million for the lives of the hostages, naming directly the Prime Minister (PM) of Japan. The amount of ransom is equal to the money Japan declared to pay for humanitarian support to some Middle East countries recently. It seems that IS deems this aid as hostile to Islamic fundamentalism.

The two hostages were suspected to be caught last Autumn. Haruna Yukawa, captured by IS last August, is actually a strange person. He said having established a private military company, but there are no records of such activities. His life seems enigmatic. Kenji Goto is a journalist who is eager to report the current situation of conflicting regions. He went to Syria to contact with Yukawa. They got acquaintance with each other a couple of years. Goto has saved Yukawa once from captivation by another armed group.

Shinzo Abe, the PM of Japan commented that Japan would never change the policy regarding the Middle East, suggesting to refuse paying the ransom. The persuasion for release of the hostages has remained difficult since Yukawa was captured.

As a Japanese, I truly hope the safety of the hostages and rapid solution of this case. However, my forecasting is rather pessimistic. One of the aims of organizations of Islam Fundamentalists is to attract the attention of the media to infiltrate their ideology over the world. Indeed, several years ago, they executed Japanese hostages.

On the other hand, the probability that Japan government will pay the ransom is quite low. The amount of the money they have demanded is so much to match the annual income of them. If Japan pay, many countries will criticize Japan for supporting such an evil organization.

It is complicated to decide the reaction to terrorists. The US and the UK never obey the demand of them. It leads to more victimization of the citizens. Instead, some European countries use special negotiators in some urgent cases. Even in the UK, some families have paid the ransom personally. Giving the money to terrorists makes them more strong. In a longitudinal view, it must be inappropriate. However, it is not easy to tell the hostages and their families to abandon their own survival for the future of the world.

It is obvious that Japanese are not accustomed to such a tough case. Some people say that acquiring collective self-defense brought such a case. They seem to believe that letting sleeping dogs lie will keep Japan peaceful. I cannot understand their opinion. Keeping not involved in any conflicts in the world is not realistic as a nation. We have to decide the attitude against such conflicts occurring in the world.

My past entry: Japan has right of collective self-defense


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