Tokyo: Under gray skies, the bodies of the seven Japanese killed in a militant attack in Bangladesh returned to home soil early Tuesday morning.
A Japanese government plane, which had brought family members and government officials to Bangladesh to retrieve the victims, touched down at 6:50 am local time at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
The bodies, in boxes covered with white cloth, were lowered slowly in pairs from the high cargo bay of the 747, and lined up on four-wheeled cargo pallets on the tarmac.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Bangladesh Ambassador Rabab Fatima and other officials laid bouquets of flowers in between the boxes. Kishida said later that the cruel act of terrorism had taken precious lives. "I once again felt deep sorry and indignation," he told reporters.
The five men and two women were among 20 hostages who died in an overnight siege that ended Saturday morning at a restaurant popular with foreigners in Dhaka, the capital city.
They were private consultants working on a Japanese government development project in Bangladesh.