Seven survivors and the bodies of nine Japanese slain in a hostage crisis in Algeria returned to Tokyo on a government plane Friday.
The 16 individuals worked for a Yokohama-based engineering company, JGC Corp. at a natural gas plant in the Sahara that was seized by al-Qaida-linked militants last week.
TV footage showed Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on the airport tarmac placing flowers on caskets that had been unloaded from the airplane. He and other government and company officials bowed as the caskets were driven away.
Algeria says at least 37 hostages and 29 militants were killed during four-day standoff at the Ain Amenas plant.
A solemn-looking Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed "deep sorrow" at a morning news conference and said Japan strongly condemned the terrorist actions.
At 2:46pm every Japanese television channel paused to remember the dead, cancelling their regularly scheduled programming to show the prayers of Japanese people around the country.
That is, every channel except one. One decided to air Alien: Resurrection instead. (ibtimes.co.uk )
Kochi prefectural police are investigating an incident involving a man who sustained severe injuries after being stabbed several times in the abdomen. Police said they believe the attack is linked to a dispute the victim was having with another man over their children dating. (Japan Today )
Police in Niihama, Ehime Prefecture, are investigating the mutilation deaths of three cats whose bodies were left in a park. Two were found dead in February, and the third was found on Saturday. (Japan Today )
Banging on drums and waving "Sayonara nukes" signs, thousands of people rallied in a Tokyo park and marched to Parliament on Sunday to demand an end to nuclear power ahead of the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. (scmp.com )
Fewer than 40 pct of residents and commuters in Tokyo take specific measures to prepare for a possible huge earthquake beneath the Japanese capital, despite high awareness on disaster prevention, a Metropolitan Police Department survey showed Friday. (Jiji Press )