Video Purports To Show Beheaded Japanese Hostage
Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET
A government spokesman in Tokyo has called a video purporting to show one of two Japanese hostages holding a picture of his beheaded fellow captive "outrageous" and "unacceptable" after a deadline for payment of a $200 million passed on Friday.
"This is an outrageous and unacceptable act," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. "We strongly demand the prompt release of the remaining Mr. Kenji Goto, without harm."
The video purportedly shows hostage Goto holding a photo of beheaded fellow captive Haruna Yakaw. (The video, not yet confirmed, is graphic. Readers can view it here.)
In it, a still photo of journalist Goto holding the photo is accompanied by an audio voiceover purporting to be Goto: "They no longer want money," the voice says in halting English of the Islamic State captors.
"So, you don't need to worry about funding terrorists. They are just demanding the release of their imprisoned sister, Sajida al-Rishawi," the voice-over says.
Al-Rishawa is a would-be suicide bomber who reportedly took part in the 2005 Anman bombings but survived when her vest failed to detonate. She was convicted and sentence to death in Jordan in 2006 but is awaiting an appeal.
The kidnappers gave Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 72 hours to produce the ransom to prevent Goto, 47, and Yakaw, 42, from being executed. That deadline passed on Friday and there has been no confirmed word from the captors.
Earlier, Yasuhide Nakayama, a deputy foreign minister sent to Amman, Jordan, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying he "is working around the clock to coordinate efforts to save the hostages.
"We will not rule out any possibility, and we are verifying all information thoroughly," he said, according to AP. "We will not give up. I believe it is my duty to ensure we will definitely get them back home, and I will do my utmost to do so."
The Telegraph reports that Abe met Friday with his National Security Council to discuss the crisis as "Japan has scrambled for a way to secure the release of Goto, a journalist, and Yukawa, an adventurer fascinated by war. Japanese diplomats had left Syria as the civil war there escalated, adding to the difficulty of contacting the militants holding the hostages."
As we reported earlier, the $200 million sum demanded by the kidnappers is equivalent to the amount of money Japan pledged in non-military aid to countries in the region facing threats from the Islamic State militancy.
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