A video purporting to show the Islamic State group threatening to kill two Japanese hostages unless they get a $200 million ransom in the next 72 hours was posted online Tuesday.
The video shows a black-clad, masked British-accented man standing between two hostages in orange jumpsuits who are identified in captions as Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa.
The video is called ‘A message to the government and people of Japan,’ has been identified as being made by the Islamic State group’s al-Furqan media arm, and was posted on militant websites associated with the extremist group.
“You now have 72 hours to pressure your government into making a wise decision by paying the $200 million to save the lives of your citizens,” he says.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry’s anti-terrorism section has seen the video and analysts are assessing it, a ministry official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of department rules.
Speaking in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to say whether Japan would pay the ransom. “If true, the act of threat in exchange of people’s lives is unforgivable and we feel strong indignation,” Suga told journalists. “We will make our utmost effort to win their release as soon as possible.”
“Our country’s stance — contributing to the fight against terrorism without giving in — remains unchanged,” chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.