Knife-brandishing jihadist with British accent demands $200 million from the Japanese government in the next 72 hours, urging the Japanese public to pressure their government to stop its ‘foolish’ support for the US-led coalition.
The video, identified as being made by the Islamic State group’s al-Furqan media arm and posted on militant websites associated with the extremist group, mirrored other hostage threats it has made. The militant in it also directly addresses Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, now on a six-day visit to the Middle East with more than 100 government officials and presidents of Japanese companies.
“To the prime minister of Japan: Although you are more than 8,000 and 500 kilometers (5,280 miles) from the Islamic State, you willingly have volunteered to take part in this crusade,” says the knife-brandishing militant in the video, standing in a desert area along with two kneeling men wearing orange clothing. “You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims.”
The jihadist, who resembles and sounds like a British militant involved in other filmed beheadings by the Islamic State group, said the Japanese public had 72 hours to pressure their government to stop its “foolish” support for the US-led coalition waging a military campaign against Islamic State.
“Otherwise this knife will become your nightmare,” the black-clad figure said in English. He demanded “200 million” without specifying a currency, but an Arabic subtitle identified it as US dollars.
The video shows two hostages that the militants identify as Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa. Japan’s Foreign Ministry’s anti-terrorism section has seen the video and analysts are assessing it, a ministry official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of department rules.
In a press conference in Jerusalem, Abe said the ultimatum set to his country by the Islamic State “is unforgivable and I feel strong resentment.”
He demanded the Islamic State group immediately release hostages Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa.
On a visit to Cairo on Jan. 17, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged about $200 million in non-military assistance for countries battling Islamic State.
In August, a Japanese citizen believed to be Yukawa, a private military company operator in his early 40s, was kidnapped in Syria. His reason for going to Syria remains unclear. Goto is a Japanese freelance journalist who went to report on Syria’s civil war last year.
The Islamic State group has beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives — mainly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers — during its sweep across the two countries, and has celebrated its mass killings in extremely graphic videos. A British-accented jihadi also has appeared in the beheading videos of slain American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and with British hostages David Haines and Alan Henning
The group also holds British photojournalist John Cantlie, who has appeared in other extremist propaganda videos, and a 26-year-old American woman captured last year in Syria while working for aid groups. US officials have asked that the woman not be identified out of fears for her safety.