Following the kidnapping of three Japanese civilians today by terrorists who threaten to burn them alive unless Japan withdraws its forces from Iraq, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi demanded that Japan be allowed to reinforce its existing force of 550 with a specialised search-and-rescue team of 550,000, comprising five armoured divisions with corresponding air and logistical support.
‘This is a Constitutional issue’, said Koizumi. ‘Our military is not called the Self-Defense Force for nothing. We are Constitutionally required to use it to defend our citizens from aggression, which this crime clearly is. Ever since World War II, Japan has considered itself to have a sacred commitment to the cause of peace. That is why we are proud members of the Coalition, and that is also why we are determined to rescue our kidnapped citizens with all possible dispatch, to bring their kidnappers to justice, and to burn every evil war criminal who dares to stand in our way while we are doing so.’
Japanese officials who have been asked to prepare contingency plans in case the hostages are found dead are said to be scouring certain 60-year-old documents ‘for ideas’. Koizumi is said to have threatened to leave the Coalition if its response to today's outrage is insufficiently vigorous.