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Japan Outraged At Beheading Of IS Hostage

  • RFE/RL

A picture of Junko Ishido and her son, journalist Kenji Goto, who is thought to be have been killed by Islamic State militants, is held by Ishido as she speaks to reporters at her house in Tokyo on January 30.

A picture of Junko Ishido and her son, journalist Kenji Goto, who is thought to be have been killed by Islamic State militants, is held by Ishido as she speaks to reporters at her house in Tokyo on January 30.

Japan has reacted with defiance to a video that purportedly shows the beheading of journalist Kenji Goto by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on February 1, "I feel strong indignation at this inhumane and contemptible act of terrorism."

Abe said Japan will work with the international community "to bring those responsible to justice."

He added that Tokyo "would not give in to terrorism" and will continue to provide humanitarian aid to countries fighting the IS group.

The video, released on January 31, reportedly shows a hooded man speaking with a British accent, blaming Japan's government for its support of coalition forces attacking the IS group. A militant then kills Goto.

Japanese Defense Minister General Nakatani said the video appeared to be genuine.

It came less than a week after the apparent beheading of another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, by the IS group.

There has been condemnation from the United States and other allies in the fight against IS.

President Barack Obama vowed the United States would continue efforts to destroy the extremist group.

British Prime Minister said the video was a reminder that the IS group is the "embodiment of evil, with no regard for human life."

Goto was a freelance journalist who covered wars in Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.

He was captured by IS fighters last October after he had gone to Syria to try to help secure the release of Yukawa.

Japanese officials had been working with Jordan to secure the release of Goto and Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh, who was shot down over Syria in December.

The IS group had given a deadline of January 29 for a deal by which Goto would be freed in return for Jordan freeing Iraqi would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi.

The deadline passed after Amman said it cannot release Rishawi without proof the pilot is still alive.

The January 31 video did not mention the Jordanian pilot.

Kasasbeh's family asked the Jordanian government on February 1 to be more open about negotiations for his release.

An uncle of the pilot, Yassin Rawashda, said, "We want the government to tell us the truth." He said the family wants to hear if release efforts are headed "in a positive direction or not."

Government spokesman Mohammed al-Momeni said the kingdom will do everything it can to save the life and secure the release of its pilot.

He also said Jordan was still ready to hand over Rishawi in return for Kasasbeh.

Jordan is part of the U.S.-led military coalition that has carried out air strikes against IS fighters, who control large swaths of territory in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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