A plane carrying the body of a Japanese doctor and humanitarian worker who was fatally shot in Afghanistan arrived at his hometown Fukuoka in Kyushu on Monday morning.
Dozens of people, including Afghans who live in southern Japan, were at the observation deck of the airport when Tetsu Nakamura's coffin, shrouded with white cloth, was lowered from the plane.
They held the slain doctor's photographs, national flags of Japan and Afghanistan and banners.
The banners carried messages such as, "We regret that we could not protect you," "You are our hero," and "Rest in peace."
One of the Afghans said that there are no words to express the profound grief they feel and that Nakamura's actions helped to save the lives of many Afghan people, including children.
He added that he believes the doctor will watch and encourage the Afghans from heaven as they work to build a good country.
Nakamura died last Wednesday after being ambushed by a group of unidentified gunmen in the city of Jalalabad in the eastern province of Nangarhar.
Japan's police will investigate his death, applying the Japanese Penal Code for crimes committed abroad.
The funeral service is scheduled to be held in Fukuoka on Wednesday.