Japanese victims of Dhaka cafe attack arrive home

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida places a bouquet of flowers among the coffins of Japanese victims upon their arrival at Tokyo International Airport on July 5, 2016.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida places a bouquet of flowers among the coffins of Japanese victims upon their arrival at Tokyo International Airport on July 5, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - The bodies of seven Japanese nationals killed in a bloody restaurant attack in Dhaka were returned home early Tuesday (July 5) on a government plane.

The aircraft landed shortly before 6am local time (5am Singapore time on Tuesday) carrying the victims' remains and bereaved family members, who had been earlier taken to the upmarket cafe in the Bangladeshi capital where militants killed 20 hostages at the weekend.

The coffins, draped in white sheets, were lowered to the tarmac at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, where Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida along with other government officials and colleagues of the victims awaited.

Mr Kishida joined others to offer floral tributes and bowed deeply as they held a moment of silence before the coffins.

"As I received them at the airport, I felt a renewed sense of deep sorrow and anger," Mr Kishida later told reporters in Tokyo.

"Our country will further coordinate our efforts with the international community so that a tragedy like this will not be repeated," he said.

The plane arrived roughly two hours after a small jet carrying injured Mr Tamaoki Watanabe, a Japanese survivor of the siege, landed at Haneda, local television footage showed.

He was carried on a stretcher and rushed to hospital for further treatment. He was in a stable condition, according to local media.

The Japanese nationals had been engaged in development projects in Bangladesh with the government-run Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Japanese officials who returned from Dhaka along with the bereaved families briefed cabinet ministers on the situation.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held telephone talks on Monday night with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi to discuss global cooperation to fight terrorism, the Japanese foreign ministry said.

The Dhaka attack also killed nine Italians as well as a US citizen and a 19-year-old Indian student.

The two leaders agreed that they will use an upcoming round of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Mongolia to issue a clear message against terrorism, the ministry said in a brief statement.