Japan told hostage in Iraq killed: report
By: AFP on: 29.10.2004 [19:27 ] (80 reads)
(1188 bytes) Print
TOKYO, Oct 30 (AFP) - The Japanese government was told early Saturday that a Japanese man taken hostage by militants in Iraq has been killed, the Kyodo news agency reported.
A body found near the Iraqi town of Tikrit was identified as that of Shosei Koda, a 24-year-old backpacker captured by militants, the news agency said, quoting a Japanese ruling party official whose name was not given.
There was no immediate confirmation of the report.
"We are not in the stage of saying anything at the moment," a foreign ministry spokesman said as the report came out overnight in Tokyo.
Militants had threatened to behead Koda unless Japan pulled its troops out of Iraq, a demand Tokyo rejected.
Japan has some 550 troops stationed in Iraq on a humanitarian mission. It is Japan's first military deployment since World War II to an area of active fighting.
Japan managed to free five other citizens taken hostage in Iraq in April after days of mediation.