Shii calls on gov’t to review its handling of recent ISIL hostage crisis

February 6, 2015

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on February 5 at a press conference criticized Prime Minister Abe Shinzo for refusing to review the government handling of the recent Japanese hostage crisis by the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIL).

Shii stressed the need to draw lessons from the tragic event to prevent a recurrence of such a tragedy and decrease the threat of terrorism. He proposed the following three points for the review.

The first is that the government should determine if it responded properly from the very early stages of the crisis. Although the government in early December last year acknowledged that the extremist group had detained the two Japanese nationals, it did not increase its task force team in Jordan working on the issue until ISIL uploaded an online video of the two hostages on January 20. Shii called for an investigation to determine if the government made a serious commitment to the crisis.

The second point is that the appropriateness of Abe’s remarks during his tour in the Middle East should be examined. The prime minister on January 17 in Cairo said that Japan will offer 200 million dollars for regional efforts to combat the Islamic extremist group. He then publicly agreed with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to promote security cooperation. JCP lawmakers repeatedly asked Abe in the Diet if he had been aware of the possibility that these remarks could risk the lives of the Japanese hostages, but Abe refused to respond and just insisted that posting such a question is tantamount to giving in to terrorists. Shii criticized the prime minister for his reluctance to reflect on his remarks.

Thirdly, the review needs to incorporate a historical perspective. ISIL has grown amid the chaos after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Japanese government gave clear support to the U.S.-led war on Iraq and sent the Self-Defense Forces in support. Shii stressed that in order to eliminate terrorism from the world, it is essential to look into the historical dimensions of the Iraq War.


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