Two Japanese killed in Iraq

Two Japanese freelance journalists were killed in an attack near Baghdad on May 27 (local time).

The Foreign Ministry on May 28 announced that they are believed to be Hashida Shinsuke, 61, and his nephew, Ogawa Kotaro.

Akahata of May 29 reported that Hashida and Ogawa have been very critical of the Iraqi war and Japan's dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi published a statement on May 28 denouncing the attack.

Ichida said as follows:

"Although who the perpetrators are is not known yet, the incident is inseparable from the fact that the whole of Iraq is becoming a war zone with U.S. forces making fierce attacks in southern Iraq."

"We demand that sovereign rights be immediately restored to the Iraqi people. Now that the government justification of the Law on Special Measures on Iraq (to dispatch the Self-Defense forces to Iraq) is lost, we demand that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces be immediately withdrawn from Iraq." (end)

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