Japan’s top priority is saving the life of the remaining hostage held by the Islamic State (IS) after a video showed one Japanese captive apparently beheaded by the militant group, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday.
Abe, however, stood by his policy not to bow to terrorist demands, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The PM said it is highly likely that an image that appeared to show the decapitated body of one hostage, Haruna Yukawa, was authentic.
The government’s main priority now is to save the life of the remaining captive, journalist Kenji Goto, Abe said.
In a video released by IS over the weekend, Goto was seen holding a photo showing what appeared to be the decapitated head and body of Yukawa, a self-described Japanese military contractor.
A voice described as Goto’s read a statement saying the militants were now demanding the release of a prisoner held in Jordan in place of their earlier US$200 million ransom demand.
Abe said he had spoken with Jordan’s King Abdullah about the hostage situation, part of a flurry of calls in which Japan has sought the help of better-connected foreign leaders.
The Japanese leader condemned the killing of Yukawa as an “outrageous and unforgivable act of violence,” and demanded the immediate release of Goto.
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