|Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 17, 2013. The Japanese government formed a task force on Thursday to cope with a hostage crisis in Algeria, where dozens of foreigners, including several Japanese, have been kidnapped by gangsters Wednesday. (Xinhua/Kenichiro Seki)|
TOKYO, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government formed a task force on Thursday to cope with a hostage crisis in Algeria, where dozens of foreigners, including several Japanese, have been kidnapped by gangsters Wednesday.
The task force is headed by Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is in a trip to three Asian countries, returns on Saturday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference in the morning that Japan puts lives of the hostages as top priority, but he declined to clear how many Japanese have been taken hostage.
Meanwhile, Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met here with Kurt Campbell, the visiting U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, on the issue.
They agreed that Japan and the United States will closely work on the issue. Several Americans also reportedly have been abducted in the incident.
Campbell said that Kishida, who is expected to visit the United States Friday, will receive a specific set of briefings from the U. S. side when he meets with Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, according to local media.
Gangsters that believed to be Islamic militants kidnapped about 41 foreign nationals in a gas complex in southeastern Algeria Wednesday and demanded France end its military operation in Mali.
The incident was considered as the first spillover from French operation in Mali.
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