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10th Japanese confirmed dead in Algeria crisis

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 24, 2013 at 7:28 a.m.

— Japanese officials have found the body of the last Japanese citizen who disappeared during a hostage crisis last week in Algeria, the government confirmed late Thursday, raising the country’s death toll to 10.

The victims worked for a Japanese engineering company, JGC Corp., at a natural gas plant in the Sahara Desert. Seven other Japanese workers for the company survived the hostage-taking.

Islamist militants seized the gas field and held scores of foreigners from a number of countries hostage for four days until Algerian special forces stormed the plant Saturday.

Algeria’s prime minister has said that at least 37 hostages and 29 militants were killed.

Seven other Japanese citizens had been confirmed dead earlier this week. Japanese diplomats, police and company officials continued their effort to find the three who remained unaccounted for, and they identified two of them Wednesday among a group of unidentified victims at a morgue in Algiers. The effort continued Thursday to find the last victim.

The 10th victim is reportedly JGC’s former vice-president Tadanori Aratani, 66, who was to meet officials of his company’s British partner, BP, the day of the hostage crisis.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that all 10 Japanese who had been unaccounted for were now confirmed dead.

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