Last Japanese body from Algeria siege flown back

January 27, 2013 - 12:52:46 am


TOKYO: The body of the last of 10 Japanese nationals killed in the Algerian hostage crisis arrived in Japan yesterday as the prime minister proposed setting up a security council to deal with future threats.

The body of Tadanori Aratani, 66, a former vice president of engineering firm JGC, arrived at Tokyo’s Narita airport on a commercial flight accompanied by Vice-Foreign Minister Minoru Kiuchi.

The seven Japanese survivors of the siege at the In Amenas gas plant in the Sahara desert and the bodies of nine of the 10 dead arrived a day earlier as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke of the nation’s “deepest grief”.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida was at the airport yesterday, along with JGC officials, to welcome back the body of Aratani. Flowers were laid on the coffin and mourners offered a one-minute silent prayer.

JGC employed, directly or indirectly, all the Japanese caught up in the siege. Japan’s body count of 10 is the highest of any nation whose citizens were caught up in the crisis and an unusual taste of Jihadist anger for a country that has remained far removed from US-led wars in the Muslim world.

Abe said the nation was in mourning for those killed, while at JGC headquarters in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, mourners paid respects in front of a makeshift altar.