Abe ‘Left Speechless’ by Apparent Killing of Hostage

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TOKYO — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Jan. 24 following the release of a video that seems to show one of two Japanese hostages being held by the Islamic State group has been killed.

The video shows one hostage, journalist Kenji Goto, holding a photo purportedly of the dead body of the other hostage, Haruna Yukawa, and a statement that Islamic State now wants the release of an Iraqi, Sajida al-Rishawi, who is being held in Jordan in connection with a 2005 terror attack that killed 60 people.

In a previous video, released while Abe was visiting the Middle East, Islamic State had threatened to kill both hostages if the Japanese government did not pay $200 million by Jan. 23.

“We have been pursuing every possible means including all available diplomatic channels, first and foremost, to save lives of the two Japanese nationals,” said Abe. “It is under these circumstances that an image in which Mr. Haruna Yukawa seems to have been murdered was uploaded online.

“Fully aware of unbearable pain and sorrow that his family must be feeling, I am simply left speechless. Such act of terrorism is outrageous and impermissible, which causes me nothing but strong indignation. Thus I express resolute condemnation.

“Again, I strongly demand that Mr. Kenji Goto not be harmed and be immediately released. The government of Japan will, in its entirety, do its utmost in order to have him released.

“The government of Japan will never give in to terrorism, and actively contribute to the peace and stability of the world together with the international community in an unwavering manner.”

The White House said in a statement on Jan. 25, “The president spoke by phone today from New Delhi, India with Japanese Prime Minister Abe to offer condolences for the murder by ISIL of Japanese citizen Haruna Yukawa and to convey solidarity with the Japanese people.

“He also expressed appreciation for Japan’s significant contributions of humanitarian assistance to the Middle East region. The two leaders agreed to continue their cooperation on a range of regional and global issues.”

Japanese officials have been holding talks in Jordan in an effort to secure Goto’s release, but no progress has been reported.

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