According to Kyodo English News, Osama Bin Laden’s chief deputy has hinted that Al-Qaeda may attack Japan because of the sending of troops to Iraq.
An unconfirmed 2-hour audio recording of Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man, has been posted on extremist Islamic websites. Many critics and journalists have asked questions on these sites, including one signed by the Kyodo news agency asking if Japan remains a target because of the deployment of troops. Al-Zawahri allegedly responded that Japan provided help “under the banner of the crusader coalition” and “therefore it participated in the crusader campaign against the lands of Islam.”
“Our Islamic faith urged us to resist the injustice and aggression even if they were the most powerful on Earth. Should Japan take a lesson from this?” he said.
Although the 600 Japanese non-combat troops in Iraq have returned home, they still conduct airlifts to help supply US-led forces in the region. The deployment of the troops in 2003 proved very unpopular, with many saying that it goes against the constitution.
With the last major Al-Qaeda story being about Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama’s “friend’s friend is a member of Al-Qaeda” back in October last year, this story is bound to spread across the Japanese media in the next few days.
However, perhaps the real point of the story is that clearly, Kyodo is just blatantly, and irresponsibly, trying to create news — asking Al Qaeda "excuse me, what do you think of Japan?" is obviously a leading question. It would be easy to create headlines this way. “Mr Kim Jong Il, do you think you would see the need for weapons of mass destruction if Japan changed its constitution?” “Dear IRA, would you be happy to be ruled by London? What would be your response to a bill to implement this?”
Like other terrorist threats in the past, officials may follow with signs of tightened security to put the public at ease. However, will the recently adopted biometric scans in Japanese airports really deter terrorist from entering this country (especially considering many of Japan’s past terrorist attacks have been by Japanese people anyway) ? Or can the officials think of even cleverer ways of counter-terrorist measures to keep Japan “safe”?
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