(UPDATE) From Reuters, 30 hostages and 11 "Islamic militants" (aren't they terrorists?) reported dead. Dead hostages include 2 Japanese, 2 Britons, and a French.
According to Yomiuri, there were 17 Japanese from Nikki, a plant engineering company.
Conflicting information on what's unfolding in Algeria:
New York Times says "at least four hostages freed";
Reuters says "twenty-five were freed and six were killed";
Al Jazeera (quoted in Reuters article) says "34 of the captives and 15 of their captors had been killed".
The Guardian has the live update. The military operation to free the hostages has ended, according to the Guardian.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo pork-cutlet-over-curry-rice Abe called the Algerian counterpart to tell him to stop military operation, according to Yomiuri Shinbun (1/17/2013):
Prime Minister Abe made an emergency telephone call to Algerian Prime Minister Sellal, and protested, "We have requested that the human lives come first, and now we are worried that your action will endanger the lives of the hostages. I want you to stop immediately."
Prime Minister Sellal answered, "They are a dangerous terrorist group, and this (military action) is the best course of action." Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi arrived in Algeria, and met with Algerian Foreign Minister Medelci to make a similar request.
PM Abe wants to ditch the Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution so that he can send his "military" (SDF) to war zones to succor his allies. In hostage-taking situations like this, the Japanese government under LDP has always insisted that the situations be resolved in a peaceful manner.