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?