World Bulletin / News Desk
The ISIS, which holds territory in Iraq and Syria, issued a video online on Tuesday purporting to show two Japanese captives and demanding $200 million from the Japanese government to save their lives.
A black-clad figure with a knife, standing in a desert area along with two kneeling men wearing orange clothing, said the Japanese public had 72 hours to pressure their government to stop its "foolish" support for the U.S.-led coalition waging a military campaign against ISIS.
“To the prime minister of Japan: Although you are more than 8,500 kilometers from the IS, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade,” says the militant, who resembles and sounds like the man involved in previous videoed beheadings by ISIL.
“You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims.”
The ISIS member demanded "200 million" without specifying a currency, but an Arabic subtitle identified it as U.S. dollars. The video identified the men as Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.
The video was not dated, but on a visit to Cairo on Jan. 17, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged around $200 million in non-military assistance for countries battling ISIS.
Abe was in Jerusalem on Tuesday as part of a regional tour.
In Tokyo, Japan's foreign ministry said it was checking the video to see whether the footage was genuine and said that, if it was, "such a threat by taking hostages is unacceptable and we are extremely resentful."
Yukawa, 42, was reportedly captured in Syria in August last year after going to train with militants. Photographs on his Facebook page show him in Iraq and Syria in July. One showed him holding a Kalashnikov assault rifle with the caption “Syria war in Aleppo 2014.”
Kyodo News reported he was travelling with militants including ISIL fighters and was seized when fighting broke out between the factions.
Goto is a freelance reporter who was based in Tokyo. He has written books on AIDS and children in war zones from Afghanistan to Africa and reported for news broadcasters in Japan.
Goto met Yukawa last year and helped him travel to Iraq in June, he told Reuters in August.
Yukawa's father, Shoichi Yukawa, declined to comment, saying he was overwhelmed by the news reports.
The video resembled others distributed by ISIS outlets in which captives were threatened or killed.
“Our country’s stance — contributing to the fight against terrorism without giving in — remains unchanged,” chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said, according to the Japan Times.
An official in the Foreign Ministry’s anti-terrorism division earlier said the government was investigating the threat and the authenticity of the film.
ISIL has so far murdered Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Britons David Haines and Alan Henning after issuing threatening online videos.
It is the first time the group has demanded a ransom and Goto and Yukawa are the first Japanese hostages.
In 2004, Shosei Koda was beheaded during the U.S.-led war in Iraq, purported by Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the group that spawned ISIL.
The group, which has killed hundreds of captives, mostly Syrian and Iraqi security personnel, also holds British journalist John Cantlie and a 26-year-old American female aid worker.
Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2015, 13:55