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(回答先: 雅子妃の病、きっかけは奥参事官の死 日本メディアが黙殺した英紙報道 「二人は親密な友人だった」(ベリタ） 投稿者 近藤勇 日時 2007 年 1 月 12 日 22:54:07)
On the morning of November 29, 2003, a black SUV owned by the Japanese embassy in Iraq was racing up the dusty road that runs from Samarra to the town of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s place of birth. At the wheel was Suleiman Zuma, 54, who had been employed by the embassy since the early 1980s. One of his passengers was a diplomat, Masamori Inoue, 30, an Arabic speaker, married with a son, aged two. The other was Katsuhiko Oku, 45, Japan’s representative on the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. They were travelling to a meeting on reconstruction, for which Japan would give generously.
Trusted with Japan’s most sensitive dealings with the British and Americans in Iraq, Oku was a leading player behind Japanese foreign policy. He had (of course) been to Oxford. He played rugby and was a member of the Garrick Club. Married with three children, he was admired by his colleagues as the epitome of a new, confident breed of internationalist Japanese diplomats. According to three authoritative sources in Tokyo, he became a close friend of Masako while she was in the foreign ministry, and later supported her vision as crown princess. There were even murmurings in Japanese high society of a romance between the two, before they met their future spouses. On that November morning, however, the confident Oku had either made a mistake – or had been betrayed. Two Iraqi peasants described what happened next: four or five white cars overtook the Japanese vehicle and boxed it in. Then a white Toyota pick-up drew up alongside it. One gunman levelled an automatic rifle and opened fire. The SUV slowed down, swayed, veered off the road, then came to a halt 60 yards into a field. All three occupants died. Oku had taken a lethal shot in the head and 10 bullets entered his left side and arm.
The news reached Tokyo on a quiet Sunday morning. It was a terrible blow to Japan’s first overseas military venture in more than half a century. The diplomats’ coffins came back to Tokyo, where few could stay stoical at the sight of Oku’s teenage son standing to attention in his school uniform, tears streaming down his cheeks, as a guard of honour bore his father past.
The funerals, on December 6, 2003, were attended by Japan’s prime minister. However, protocol bars members of the imperial family from attending funerals apart from those of its members, so Masako remained inside the Tobu palace compound a mile or two away. The allied investigation concluded that the murders were the result of a terrorist conspiracy. If so, it had unintended consequences. Later that month, Masako fell into a deep depression. It was as if, after a decade of frustration and conflict, something had broken. One by one, her engagements were cancelled. She would vanish from sight for almost two years. Only little Princess Aiko could console her. Masako’s psychological collapse left a vacuum. In her absence, there continued a bland constitutional debate on the succession. Behind its screen, however, are people with family connections to some of the darkest periods in Japanese history.
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