Japan working to gain IS hostage's release, analyzing video
Updated: 2015-01-26 13:20
Protesters holding placards chant "Save Kenji" during a demonstration in front of the Prime Minister's Official residence in Tokyo, January 25, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]
TOKYO - Japan was working Monday to coordinate efforts with Jordan and other countries to save a hostage held by the extremist Islamic State group.
"We all have one unchanged goal and we will absolutely not give up until the end. And with that faith, we will try our utmost to reach that goal. That's how it is," said Yasuhide Nakayama, a Japanese deputy foreign minister sent to Amman, Jordan, to work on the crisis.
Back in Tokyo, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the government was still analyzing a video posted online that purported to show one of the two hostages, Haruna Yukawa, had been killed.
The government has been in crisis mode since the Islamic State group said in an online video on Jan. 20 that it had two Japanese hostages and would kill them within 72 hours unless it paid $200 million. That deadline passed Friday.
Asked if the government had concluded the latest video was authentic, Suga said, "We cannot deny that the likelihood is high."
Attention was focused on trying to save Kenji Goto, a 47-year-old journalist who was shown in the video, holding the photo of Yukawa. The still picture included a recording of a voice claiming to be Goto, saying his captors were no longer demanding ransom but wanted a prisoner exchange.
Japanese were shocked by the video and news of the likely killing of Yukawa, a 42-year-old adventurer, who was captured in Syria last summer. Goto is thought to have been seized in late October after going there to try to rescue him.
But some are critical of the two men for taking such risks. Some Japanese also are criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for pursuing a more assertive foreign policy, saying it may have contributed to the crisis.