Japan Honors Citizens Killed in Algeria Hostage Crisis
(LinkAsia: January 25, 2012)
Thuy Vu:
Japan was shocked to learn that at least nine of its nationals were killed in Algeria last week. They died during a battle between the Algerian army and Islamist militants at a gas factory in the Sahara desert. Thirty-nine foreigners and dozens of Algerians died after the militants took over the gas plant and the army stormed it. With a tribute to two of the Japanese victims here's NHK.


Airdate: January 23, 2013

Rokuro Fuchida ran building sites around the world. He was 64 years old and retired. Then his former bosses asked him to lead one more project in Algeria. He wrote about it on Facebook before he left: "I am working all over the world to see the twinkling star-lit sky. Next I will see the stars from the desert in Algeria." His brother, Mitsunobu, heard about the hostage taking, then waited, day after day for a call from Rokuro. It never came.

Mitsunobu Fuchida, Brother:
Rokuro was kind, and a good brother. I just want to hug him. That's the only thing I want
to do.

Fumihiro Ito worked near Fuchida in Algeria. He had spent years developing energy resources. He led a project to develop gas fields in Sahara desert. Ito came from Minamisanriku, a town devastated in the tsunami two years ago. Now, his 82-year-old mother lives alone in temporary housing. She says, she has no mementos to remember her son. He and his former classmates were planning to get together next month to celebrate their 60th birthdays.

Takaaki Yokuyama, Former Classmate:
Ito said he would join the party, but would not stay overnight, because he wanted to visit his mother and stay with her. I want the news to be a mistake. I still think Ito will show up at the party.

Yokoyama was looking forward to seeing his old friend. Instead, he and the others will take a moment to remember.

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