Sunday, January 20, 2013

At Least 10 Japanese Missing In Algeria: Sunday, No Condolences From Prime Minister Abe?

Sunday is never a great news day in Japan. Today, Kyodo just after noon noted that at least 10 Japanese are missing at the Algerian gas plant that was part of a "hostage crisis" that ended badly.

TOKYO, Jan. 20, Kyodo
Japanese engineering firm JGC Corp. said Sunday 17 of its employees including 10 Japanese remain unaccounted for in Algeria after local security forces ended a hostage crisis at a gas complex with apparently heavy casualties.
The Japanese government was told by Algeria earlier in the day that some Japanese nationals died in the crisis, although Tokyo says it has yet to confirm the information.
The situation surrounding the missing workers is "grave," a JGC spokesman said, in light of information obtained locally and from the Japanese government.

No updates until now, on Sunday night. The UK prime minister already confirmed that British workers are dead, Norway's king has offered his condolences - but no such revelation by Shinzo Abe that Japan has suffered serious losses. I guess he just has no idea how to deal with the real world.

Update: At 22:15, Kyodo (J) noted that 9 Japanese are reported dead in Algeria, quoting AFP, the French news agency.

The Algerian gas plant is run by BP and Norsk Hydro/Statoil, so there has been plenty of news from those countries., With 10 Japanese engineers or staff possibly dead, shall we call this the Japan Sunday News Syndrome?

Yokohama-based JGC said seven Japanese staff and 10 people of other nationalities have so far been confirmed as safe. But a total of 61 staff — including 10 Japanese — remain unaccounted for, according to the company. JGC President Koichi Kawana and other senior officials had departed for Algeria by early Saturday. One Japanese national was treated at a hospital Friday in the municipality of Ain Amenas, where the plant is located, and transported to the capital, Algiers, a reporter for Algerian television said. It is not yet known if that person is among the seven hostages confirmed as safe. The militant group is still holding hostages at the complex and Algerian troops are continuing the rescue operation, according to local reports.

The Japan Times/Kyodo: Japan's Abe confirms cooperation with Britain over Algeria hostage crisis

Gas and oil, a terrible, nasty business. The government in Tokyo has no way to ensure the safety of civilian Japanese workers at dangerous plants. Abe, again, shows he is not in charge, but has to ask Britain for help. I guess on Monday, Japanese media will kick in and start a huge campaign. Sorry guys, you are 24 hours behind everyone else. Already, foreign media is talking to the families of victims. Japan, tonight, Sunday, nothing.

Aftenposten: Norway's king has offered condolences to all that have died in the Algerian disaster.

Kong Harald skriver i en uttalelse at han føler med de pårørende: «Vi har fulgt situasjonen til gislene i Algerie med bekymring og uro. Våre tanker er hos dem som fortsatt lever i nagende uvisshet, både pårørende og kolleger i Statoil. Vi føler sorg over drepte gisler fra mange land og samtidig lettelse over våre egne og andre som har kommet trygt hjem.»

French AFP/google: 9 Japanese are confirmed dead.

25 bodies of foreigners found after Algeria bloodbath

IN AMENAS, Algeria — Security forces found the bodies of 25 foreigners Sunday as they combed a desert gas plant after a deadly stand-off with Islamists, and witnesses said nine Japanese hostages had been executed.
Citing security sources, Anis Rahmani of the private television channel Ennahar told AFP the army discovered "the bodies of 25 hostages" as they sought to secure the sprawling Sahara site at In Amenas.
"In all nine Japanese were killed," one Algerian witness identified as Brahim said a day after special forces swooped on the gas plant run by Britain's BP, Norway's Statoil and Sonatrach of Algeria to end the siege that began Wednesday.
In Tokyo, a foreign ministry official said: "We are in a position not to comment on this kind of information at all. Please understand."

Please understand?

Sunday night, almost 23:00 and no further updates from prime minister Abe, just this lame announcement from Kantei, with no hour-minute, from Jan 20 (J). They are clearly not going to use the internet to help people here understand what might have happened on Sunday. And, so far tonight as for January 20, no condolences from prime minister Abe.

So far, past midnight, no "twitter" or "facebook" or "updates" to add to the real situation.

Update 2: Monday night, 24 hours later. Still not a single word from Prime Minister Abe... He really has let everyone down, compared to the announcements from Heads of States in other countries with interests in this. Abe, you have just shown that you have no idea how to deal with an international crisis.

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