Islamic State militants released a video showing the gruesome killing of Kenji Goto, a journalist who was the second of two hostages to be killed, prompting grief and outrage in Japan, The New York Times reported.
The Japanese people have so far shown support for the strong line taken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who refused to meet the hostage takers’ initial demands on Jan. 20 for a US$200 million ransom, pledging not to yield to terrorism.
Abe told reporters after the video was released early Sunday that Japan “will cooperate with the international community and make the terrorists pay the price”.
“I’m outraged by the despicable terrorist act, and I will never forgive the terrorists,” he said.
Political analysts have said that as the shock wears off, there will be more questioning of how Abe’s government handled the crisis, which began with the appearance online of a video from the militant group threatening the lives of two Japanese hostages, Goto and Haruna Yukawa.
In that first video, the group called the country’s pledge of US$200 million to help shore up the government of Iraq and to assist refugees in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon a “foolish decision” and called for a ransom of the same amount.
The group dropped the demand after releasing a video online days later showing the decapitated body of Yukawa, 42, an adventurer.
The militants then offered to swap Goto for an Iraqi woman on death row in Jordan for a fatal bombing.
But on Sunday, another video appeared, showing Goto kneeling in an orange jumpsuit. Next to him stood a masked militant who spoke while waving a knife, which he then apparently used to cut off Goto’s head.
A Japanese government spokesman said the government had no reason to believe it was not real.
Goto, 47, a veteran journalist, entered Islamic State-held territory in Syria in late October in a doomed effort to rescue Yukawa, who had been captured in August, Goto’s mother said.
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