Japan looking into hostage video

Published: Saturday 24th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The Japanese government is seeking urgent verification of a video which suggests hostage Haruna Yukawa has been killed by Islamic State terrorists.

Earlier this week footage was released in which a masked militant, believed to be the Briton known as Jihadi John, made threats to kill the two hostages unless a 200 million dollar (£133 million) ransom was paid.

News organisation NHK said the government is looking to establish the authenticity of a new video, released today, in which hostage Kenji Goto Jogo stated that his fellow captive was executed.

A still image of Mr Goto, 47, appears with him holding a picture of a beheaded Mr Yukawa, 42. He speaks in English, blaming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for Mr Yukawa’s death, and telling his wife and family not to give up on him, Japanese media reported.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said that cabinet ministers were holding an emergency meeting about the new message, the release of which he condemned as unforgivable.

The hostages had appeared in videos wearing the same orange jumpsuits as those worn by captives in previous IS videos.

Jihadi John has also been present in a number of previous videos in which hostages were both threatened and killed.

British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley have been beheaded in similar style footage.

British photojournalist John Cantlie has appeared in a number of propaganda videos released by IS, presenting documentary-style clips.

The previous video, released on Tuesday with a promise to execute the hostages unless the ransom was met within 72 hours, is thought to be the first time the group has made a specific demand for cash for hostages.

The Japanese government has declined to say whether Japan would pay the ransom.

Published: Saturday 24th January 2015 by The News Editor

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