Japanese Hostage Seems Like a Cool Guy


The face of a veteran

At the time of writing, the status of Security Guard Akihito Saito, kidnapped and reported injured in Iraq, was unknown.

As we all wait and pray for his safety, Japanese media outlets are busy digging up information on this enigma of a man. The 44-year-old former SDF member had a 21-year career in the French Foreign Legion, seeing action in Africa and Bosnia. A quiet man, it is unknown why he left the Legion to work in Iraq as a security consultant. The French Foreign Legion has a rule of not asking its members about their past and does not follow up on them after they leave. But it is known that he was fluent in French and acted as an interpreter for new Japanese recruits to the Legion (of which there are apparently quite a few!).

A lieutenant who served with Saito said, “He had a lot of friends at the Legion, so even if he has parted ways with us we pray for his safe release.”

UPDATE: I just had to add something. Japan, as a pacifist country, has few “veterans” save for the aging survivors of the Imperial Army. The positive representation this guy is receiving reminds me of glorification of soldiers that goes on in America. Could he be the first modern Japanese war hero?

2 thoughts on “Japanese Hostage Seems Like a Cool Guy

  1. I want to learn more about a modern soldier named Saito.
    I want to know he jumped into the world of the combat what being
    thought as a Japanese.

    The opinion of Saito combatant is confused in Japan.

    News sealed one’s lips about Saito. It doesn’t enter excluding the victim
    information.
    (私は斉藤さんが何を思って戦いの道に入ったのかを知りたいと思う。
    平和以外の概念を持たない日本では斉藤さんをめぐって意見が混乱している。
    国内ニュースは斉藤さんの個人的な事情に迫るのをやめたようです。
    安否情報以外、報道されないです。)

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