Still no word on whether he’s dead or alive. The French government has acknowledged his service to their country and that he left the Foreign Legion with the proper paperwork. Saito’s brother, as I have learned recently, has said that the government should not let the kidnapping affect their policy, a statement that both the government and the media certainly wanted to hear. Other family members of victims have used their national spotlight to criticize government policy, resulting in negative portrayals in the media (especially for the unfortunate Koda-san).
Also, the Iraqi government is apparently arranging for some kind of mediation to take place between local leaders and the armed group (Ansar Sunna (sp?)) responsible for the kidnapping.
Masaco always has a great perspective on things, so I’ll let her do the talking this time:
According to her comment on my last post on Saito, there is a media blackout of personal information about Saito. We’ll have to wait for either the information on his condition to come forward or for the less scrupulous tabloids to give us more dirt on him.
The Japanese, who are used to thinking only of peace, are confused as to why Saito would try and join a foreign army.
From her blog:
A left-wing activist, a soul-searcher, Japan’s top mercenary, and a freelance photojournalist.
Being captured by terrorists seems to be restricted to those who “expect/should expect it”, so that makes me feel safer. This time the victim is a soldier of a foreign army, so the Japanese government’s response is made a little more difficult: is he one of ours or one of theirs?
I was once shocked to read a book where (I forget the title, but it was a Bessatsu Takarajima book) an interviewee explains, “I was sick of the lukewarm atmosphere of Japan so I decided to join the French Foreign Legion.” The man interviewed had several moments where he thought “Now I’m going to die!” but did not feel like returning to Japan instead remaining to fight another day. I don’t remember how he got to thinking like that (I’m sure that the man himself said something like, “I don’t know why but at some point I noticed that’s how it was.”), but it makes me think that the idea that “The entire human race definitely wishes for a life free from warfare,” has something of a religious quality.
Whatever the circumstances, I pray that he will be able to fight another day.