Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | japan | isis | captive | mother

Japan Captive's Mother Asks ISIS for His Release

Thursday, 22 Jan 2015 09:26 PM

TOKYO — The mother of a Japanese journalist being held captive by Islamic State militants along with another Japanese citizen appealed for his safe release on Friday as a ransom deadline neared and the Japanese government raced to respond.

In an online video released on Tuesday, a black-clad figure holding a knife stood between journalist Kenji Goto and troubled loner Haruna Yukawa, threatening to kill them if Tokyo did not pay Islamic State $200 million within 72 hours.

The Japanese government considers the deadline to be 2:50 p.m. local time (0550 GMT) on Friday.

"My son Kenji is not an enemy of the people of the Islamic faith. I can only pray as a mother for his release," Goto's mother, Junko Ishido, told a packed news conference, choking back tears. "If I could offer my life I would plead that my son be released, it would be a small sacrifice on my part.

"He only went to rescue his friend. He has always looked out for weaker people, he was always helping weaker children than him," she added.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said saving the men's lives is paramount but that Japan will not bow to terrorism.

Abe has ordered his government to make every effort to secure their safe release, setting off a flurry of activity among Japanese diplomats.

The captor in the video, which resembles those showing previous Islamic State captives, says the ransom demand matches the $200 million in aid that Abe pledged to help countries fighting Islamist militants.

Abe made the pledge during a multi-nation visit to the Middle East earlier this week. Islamic State militants have seized large areas of Iraq and Syria, and beheaded several Western captives.

Japan stresses that its donation is for humanitarian aid, such as helping refugees, but insists it will not bow to terrorist threats.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Japan was making every effort for the captives release, obtaining help from various countries and doing its best to relay its explanation of the purpose of its aid to the Islamic State.

But he added: "We will not give in to terrorism. There is no change in our stance of cooperating with other countries to combat terrorism." Japanese officials have declined to say if they would pay any ransom, a move that would put it at odds with close ally the United States.

Tokyo's most prominent mosque, the Tokyo Camii and Turkish Culture Center, posted a statement calling for the prompt release of the hostages.

It said Islamic State's actions are "totally against Islam and have a serious impact on Muslim communities all over the world and put Muslims in a precarious position".

Abe's handling of the hostage crisis - he must appear firm but not callous - will be a big test for the 60-year-old, but he appears to have few options.

Yukawa, aged around 42 and who dreamed of becoming a military contractor, was captured in August outside the Syrian city of Aleppo. Goto, 47, a war correspondent with experience in Middle East hot spots, went to Syria in late October to try to help Yukawa.

"He left a very young baby and left his family and I asked his wife why he made this decision and she said he had to do everything in his power to save his friend and acquaintance and that it was very important to him," said Goto's mother, struggling to hold back tears.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
GlobalTalk
The mother of a Japanese journalist being held captive by Islamic State militants along with another Japanese citizen appealed for his safe release on Friday as a ransom deadline neared and the Japanese government raced to respond. In an online video released on...
japan, isis, captive, mother
573
2015-26-22
Thursday, 22 Jan 2015 09:26 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved