IS executes Japanese journalist, Abe says won’t forgive


Tokyo (IANS): The Islamic State (IS) militants claimed in a video to have executed a second Japanese hostage, according to media reports Sunday. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the purported killing as “a despicable terrorist act” and vowed to “never forgive” the radical group.

The IS claimed in a one-minute video clip late Saturday to have beheaded freelance journalist and film-maker Kenji Goto, 47, after his compatriot Haruna Yukawa was killed only a few days back. Goto was known to have gone to Syria in October to secure Yukawa’s release.

After the video was posted online, Abe told reporters that he was utterly “outraged by the despicable terrorist act”, adding that he would never yield to terrorists.

“I am infuriated by these inhumane and despicable acts of terrorism, and resolutely condemn these impermissible and outrageous acts. I will never forgive these terrorists. I will work with the international community to hold them responsible for their deplorable acts,” he said in a statement posted on Japan’s foreign ministry website.

Prime Minister Abe said Japan will never give in to terrorism. “We will further expand our humanitarian assistance in the Middle East in areas such as food and medical care. Japan will steadfastly fulfill its responsibility in the international community combating terrorism,” he said.

Shock and grief struck the people in Japan Sunday as the media reported the execution Goto by IS.

“Kenji has died, and my heart is broken,” said Junko Ishido, the mother of slain journalist. “I’m just speechless. It is my only hope that we can carry on with Kenji’s mission to save the children from war and poverty,” The Guardian quoted her as saying.

Newspapers in Japan issued special editions bringing news of Goto’s death.

“Goto was a hugely respected journalist for his extensive experience, a man who covered children caught up in conflict, and told the stories of ordinary people and human rights problems. For all who knew him, it’s a huge loss,” the Japan Times quoted Tina Carr, director of the Rory Peck Trust, as saying.

The London-based trust provides support to freelance journalists and their families.

“It’s very dangerous. So, even if anything should happen to me, I won’t blame the people of Syria. Whatever happens, I am responsible. But of course, I’m going to come back alive,” Goto said in a video message last October before heading to Raqqa, the headquarters of IS.

He dropped out of contact shortly after and, weeks later, his wife received an email demanding a ransom for his release.

About two weeks ago, IS militants threatened to kill Goto and Yukawa in 72 hours unless Japan paid $200m – the same sum Abe had pledged to countries affected by the war against the Sunni radical group. While Yukawa was beheaded, Japanese officials had been working with Jordan to secure the release of Goto and the Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh, also captured by the IS.

An IS video released Tuesday said Goto had “only 24 hours left to live” and Kasasbeh “even less”.

The militants had threatened to kill the two hostages if Jordan did not release a woman sentenced to death in Jordan for her involvement in a terror attack on three hotels in Amman in 2005 that killed 60 people.