Tokyo in ‘race against time’ to free Islamic State hostages, Abe says


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted Wednesday it was a “race against time” to free two hostages being held by jihadi militants who are demanding $200 million for their lives.

A defiant Abe said he would not bow to “terrorism” as he took charge of the crisis that Japan was thrust into with the release of a chilling video apparently showing two Japanese men kneeling in the desert of Syria or Iraq.

“This is a very tough race against time, but the government will do its utmost,” he told reporters. “I have ordered the government to use all diplomatic channels and routes possible . . . to ensure the release of the two people.”

Abe, who rushed home from a tour of the Middle East, said he had sought help from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, as well as from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Japan will never yield to terrorism. Japan will do its best in the battle against the cowardice of terrorism, hand in hand with the international community,” Abe said.

The government said Wednesday it believed the deadline would expire at 2:50 p.m. on Friday.

The militant says the sum is equal to the aid that Abe pledged in support of the fight against Islamic State jihadis, money Japan says is to help refugees fleeing the fighting in Iraq and Syria.

  • OldGrandDad114

    A naive imbecile who talks out of both sides of his mouth.

  • Spencer

    Isis are not fighting for Islam they are fighting for money and power over the people. No one is safe from their evil . Paying the ransom they demand will only make them stronger . I feel for their family but they knew the risk when they went . They will never have the respect of the people .

  • drkvenger

    what is the appeal of these radical extremists that they are able to brainwash naive converts from western countries? Those western born converts are misguided and ignorant to be seduced by these groups despite their evil brutality. These groups are cruel, have no moral hesitance to take innocent lives, and cowardly hide their identities behind masks. Only the wrong and evil hide in the shadows.They do not represent Islam and have no right to justify their brutal actions in the name of Islam.

  • Tap Hue

    Palestine, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey are friendly countries. Who is missing on that list? Qatar! Qatar has al-Jazeera. On the al-Jazeera website the Islamic State hostages Goto and Yukawa find mention in one article, but are nowhere on the front page. It is as though Japan’s distress met indifference in the ummah. Will the hostages be saved by the international community alone? The hostages can only be freed with support from Muslims who know about them.

  • Timothy Riches

    Is there a law in Japan against financially supporting a terrorist organization? Paying ransom is precisely that.