Japan PM Shinzo Abe in Islamic State ‘hostages’ vow
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned an apparent threat by the Islamic State group to kill two Japanese hostages.
A video purportedly from the group shows a militant threatening to kill two hostages unless a ransom is paid.
In the video, which has not been independently verified, the militant also criticises Japan for pledging aid to countries fighting IS.
Mr Abe said the threat was unacceptable and vowed to save the hostages.
He added that their lives were his “top priority” and that Japan would not give in to terrorism.
Japan’s foreign ministry said it was working to verify the video.
The video named the two men as Kenji Goto, a well-known freelance journalist, and Haruna Yukawa, who reportedly went to Syria to set up a private military contracting company.
Mr Abe is currently in Jerusalem as part of a six-day tour of the Middle East.
However, he is expected to cancel the remainder of his trip and return to Japan to deal with the hostage crisis.
In a press conference in Jerusalem, Mr Abe said he was “indignant” and felt “strong resentment” at the threats, and demanded the immediate release of the hostages.
“Extremism and Islam are completely different things,” he said, adding: “The international community will not give in to any form of terrorism and we have to make sure that we work together.”