IS kills one of the two Japanese hostages

Japanese officials not clear whether they will pay $200m ransom to the Islamic militants

Tokyo: A video released by the Islamic State (IS) militants on Saturday claimed that one of the two Japanese hostages held by it was beheaded.

An image shows Japanese hostages Kenji Goto (L) and Haruna Yukawa (R). Pic/AFP
An image shows Japanese hostages Kenji Goto (L) and Haruna Yukawa (R). Pic/AFP

The Japanese government said that it was verifying the video, which claimed IS had executed Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa. Japan’s cabinet ministers held an emergency meeting, the report added.

Before the alleged beheading, Japan had promised yesterday not to give up “until the very end” on efforts to free the hostages. Islamic militants had threatened to behead them if they didn’t get a $200 million ransom within 72 hours.

They posted an online warning on Friday afternoon that the “countdown has begun” for the extremists to kill 47-year-old Kenji Goto and 42-year-old Yukawa.

The extremists had set the three-day deadline for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pay the ransom, or the hostages would be killed, in an online video posted on Tuesday.

Officials have not said whether they are considering paying any ransom. Japan has joined other nations in the Group of Seven in opposing the ransom.

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