ISIS is demanding a $200 million ransom payout from Japan, to be paid within 72 hours or they will kill two Japanese hostages, CNN reports.
The two hostages in the video are identified by a masked man as Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto Jogo. Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that the 42-year-old Yukawa is believed to have been captured in Syria back in August while travelining with rebel fighters after having claimed to have set up a company in Tokyo which provides armed security and services. A Reuters report back in August portrayed him as a lost soul who had lost his wife, business, and home over the course of the prior decade, which lead him to the Middle East in search of a purpose.
The other hostage, Jogo, was a freelance journalist who reported for various Japanese news organizations. His last tweet on his Twitter account was dated October 23, 2014.
The threat to Japan was published in a video which was uploaded to the Internet on Tuesday. In the video, a asked man clad in black holds a knife while standing over two men who are kneeling, wearing orange jumpsuits.
The ISIS member in the video makes reference to the United States led coalition which is currently engaged in conflicts with ISIS in both Iraq as well as Syria. The masked man addresses the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, saying he “willingly volunteered to take part in this crusade” against the Islamic State.
Although you are more than 8,500 kilometers away from the Islamic State, you willingly volunteered to take part in this crusade
Shinzo Abe, who is currently visiting the Middle East, addressed the world at a news conference hosted in Jerusalem in which he said that the international community needs to “deal with terrorist without giving into them,” but he didn’t rule out the notion of paying a ransom or negotiating with the terrorists who are holding two Japanese hostages.
The U.S. has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq since August in an attempt to aid Iraqi forces. In September, the United States expanded its aerial bombardment to Syria in support of an international coalition which includes some Arab nations.
On Sunday, Abe pledged $200 million to aid countries “contending” with ISIS in order to help build infrastructure and what he called “human capacities,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) reported.
The speaker in the recent ISIS ransom video may have been referencing the pledge as he demanded the same exact sum as the amount to be paid for the release of the hostages.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo is trying to confirm the authenticity of the video.