A Lesson in Iraq in 2004
In October 2004, a Japanese youth was killed in Iraq by AlQaeda associated terrorists.
Then Prime Minister of Japan Koizumi refused a request from the terrorists to withdraw Japanese Self-Defense troops stationed in southern Iraq for helping reconstruction of local communities, though the Japanese Government reportedly paid a ransom to rescue three Japanese, a journalist and peace activists, from captivity by anti-American terrorists in April 2004.
Shosei Koda (November 1979 – October 2004) was a Japanese citizen who was kidnapped and later beheaded in Iraq on 29 October 2004, by Zarqawi's group, while touring the country. He was the first Japanese person beheaded in Iraq.
Koda's parents were members of the United Church of Christ. For this reason, he had a cross tattoo on his arm. The family was from Nogata, a small southern city in Japan. His mother's occupation is a nurse. Koda dropped out of high school in his junior year, then started to work as a house painter until 2002.
Koda left Amman on 20 October 2004. He ignored advice not to travel to Iraq, and entered the country because he wanted to know what was happening there.
Koda's captors stated that they would "treat him like his predecessors Berg and Bigley" (Bigley was murdered just weeks before by the organization, before being known as Al Qaeda in Iraq) if Japan did not withdraw its forces from Iraq within 48 hours. The Japanese government headed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi refused to comply with these demands, stating that they will not concede to terrorists.
In the video sequence of Koda's murder, Koda sits on the American flag, his captors standing behind him. Koda's hands are tied behind his back. He is blindfolded while a captor reads a speech for two minutes and ten seconds. The captors then hold him down on the ground as they begin to decapitate him.
Koda's body was returned to Japan. His death provoked mixed responses in Japan. While many Japanese citizens were angered and appalled by the murder, some blamed the victim and others criticized the Koizumi administration.
According to an author who wrote a book about Mr. Koda, he first flew from Japan to Christchurch, New Zealand, to learn English. After going to an English school there for months, he traveled to Israel alone. He was a backpacker, though it was his first wandering abroad.
Mr. Koda stayed in a cheap hotel in Tel Aviv. While staying there, he often watched TV at a hall. He asked many questions of a young manager of the hotel while watching political news. The manager himself had been once a backpacker. So, they could communicate well. And, it seems that this episode was a key to understanding why Mr. Koda traveled to Baghdad.
When Mr. Koda arrived at Israel, he didn't make an objection against an entry stump being put on his passport. He did not intend to travel to Arab countries. He planned to just spend a month or two in Israel, though he had not much money at all.
It was a year and a half after the US invasion of Iraq, and it was time when the situation in Iraq looked well controlled by US military power. For reference, Saddam Hussein was arrested in December 2003 and held in a jail at the time. There were other Japanese youths who entered Iraq in the period. Mr. Koda was the only Japanese victim as a tourist in Iraq.
It is now believed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an AlQaeda linked terrorist leader in Iraq, was responsible for the murder of Mr. Koda. However, Zarqawi was killed by a US air raid in June 2006. And, since then, this tragic episode of Mr. Koda in Iraq seems to be gradually forgotten by the Japanese public.
The lesson is that as ISIS has killed so many innocent civilians, including Americans, Englishmen, and a Frenchman, their leaders should be surely taken on like Zarqawi.
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Mat 9:26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
Mat 9:27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.
Mat 9:28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
Mat 9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Mat 9:30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.