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Japan struggling to confirm information of hostages in Algeria


13:55, January 20, 2013

TOKYO, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government is struggling to confirm information of Japanese held hostages in Algeria after the North African country said its rescue operation ended and left several Japanese hostages dead.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference early Sunday that the government is struggling to confirm information provided by the Algerian government about Japanese fatalities.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had held a telephone talks with his Algerian counterpart and received the news that several Japanese were killed during rescue operation by the Algerian troops, local media reported.

"The Algerian government provided us with somber information about the safety of Japanese nationals," Abe was quoted by Japan' s Kyodo News Agency as saying.

Meanwhile, the Japan Gasoline Co. (JGC), which deeply embroiled in the hostage crisis, said Sunday that 41 non-Japanese staff of a total of 78 employees who were seized by Islamic militants in a gas facility have been confirmed in safe conditions.

But the company said 17 workers, including 10 Japanese, remain unaccounted for after rescue operation ended, adding the situation for the missing is grave.

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