Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denounced the alleged ISIS video showing the killing of one of two Japanese hostages. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria demanded a ransom from the Japanese government to spare the lives of the two hostages, 47-year old Kenji Goto and 42-year old Haruna Yukawa.
The ransom was $200 million as of Tuesday, with a 74-hour deadline. There was no payment until Friday, as Japan does not want to bow to terrorism. ISIS allegedly released a video on Saturday that reportedly declares the killing of Yukawa.
The video showed Mr. Goto holding a picture of Mr. Yukawa’s body, asking ransom for his release. Mr. Goto is a famous documentary film-maker and freelance journalist. It was reported he went to Syria in October to help secure the release of Mr. Yukawa. Yukawa reportedly went to Syria to build a private military firm and was captured in August.
Japan denounced the alleged ISIS video that shows killing of hostage Yukawa in a statement by Prime Minister Abe. He said after a Cabinet meeting late at night that he was simply speechless, being aware of the unbearable sorrow and pain that Yukawa’s family must have felt. He said the act of terrorism is impermissible, causing him indignation and condemnation.
The Tuesday video has Yukawa and Goto in the desert kneeling on either side of a masked man, who demanded a ransom. It was reported by Japanese media that Goto’s wife received an email in December which demanded a $17 million ransom. However, there has been no direct contact with the militants.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the ISIS video was an unforgivable act of violence. Abe condemned such terrorism to be unacceptable and demanded the release of Mr. Goto, while they verify the video.
One militant claims the video is bogus as there is an uncertainty if it actually comes from the Islamic State. There is no IS logo, just an audio message with a still image. Past videos show moving footage.
U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group said the video is on several Twitter accounts that are linked to the Islamic State. The group monitors the websites of the extremists.
On Saturday afternoon, U.S. President Obama stated America would help Japan as it condemns the alleged brutal murder of Yukawa. Official Patrick Ventrell of the U.S. National Security Council said they would try to verify the video’s authenticity and is coordinating with their Asian ally.
The U.S. has demanded the immediate release of Goto, as well as the other hostages. They expressed their commitment to development and peace, promising to work in order to bring justice to the victims and appropriate action to the offenders.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also expresses his condolences. He said the inhumanity of the ISIS contrasts Japan’s generous humanitarian help to Iraq and Syria in recent months. While Japan denounces the alleged ISIS video that shows killing of Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa, Hagel said that the ISIS’ continued barbarism makes it deserving of destruction, which is what the global coalition is aiming for.
By Judith Aparri
Photo courtesy Dick Thomas Johnson – Flickr License