Body of slain doctor returns home to Japan from Afghanistan

TOKYO (AP) — The body of a Japanese doctor killed in a roadside shooting in Afghanistan arrived back home yesterday, with government officials on hand to lead a brief ceremony of mourning at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.

Tetsu Nakamura was killed last week, along with five Afghans who had been travelling with him.

Keisuke Suzuki, Japan’s state minister of foreign affairs, joined other officials in bowing their heads in prayer after laying flowers by the coffin, draped in white, in a solemn ceremony in honour of Nakamura at the airport.

Nakamura’s wife and daughter, who had flown to Afghanistan to bring the doctor’s body back, also took part in the ceremony.

Nakamura, 73, had worked in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province for over a decade, leading irrigation projects in rural areas. An outpouring of sadness have followed his killing, both in Afghanistan and in Japan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who awarded Nakamura honourary Afghan citizenship in April, was among those who carried Nakamura’s coffin, covered in the Afghan flag, in a departure ceremony on Saturday at Kabul’s airport.

The gunmen who killed Nakamura and the others fled the scene. Police said they are still looking for those behind the attack.

The Taleban have denied any connection to the slaying.