A video released by the Islamic State (IS) militant group Saturday claimed one of the two Japanese hostages held by it was beheaded, according to media reports. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the possible execution, and called it “an unforgivable act of violence”.
The government said it was verifying the video, which claimed that Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa was executed by the IS, according to a BBC report.
Abe said after a ministerial meeting that the killing was “an unforgivable act of violence” and demanded the release of Kenji Goto, another Japanese held hostage by the IS, according to a Xinhua report.
In the video, Goto’s photo was posted along with an audio message saying Yukawa was killed.
Abe said Japan will continue to work with the international community to fight against terrorism and that Tokyo would never give in to terrorism.
He said the country was trying every channel to secure the other hostage’s release.
He also extended his condolence to Yukawa’s kin, indicating that the government considered the video to be highly reliable, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, which the Xinhua report cited.
Japan’s defence ministry was reported to be analysing the video.
On Tuesday, the IS threatened to kill Yukawa and Goto unless Japan paid $200 million within three days.
Last week, Abe, at the beginning of his tour of the Middle East, announced that Japan would be donating $200 million in non-military aid to countries fighting the IS in order to help build human capacities and infrastructure.
The IS claimed that the ransom amount was the same as the financial aid pledged by Abe to countries affected by the militant group.
The IS also said, in the video, they demanded the release of a female member imprisoned in Jordan, according to a local report.
The prisoner reportedly launched a suicide attack in Jordan in 2005 and killed about 50 people.