Goto’s mother pins hopes on Abe

by

Staff Writer

The mother of hostage Kenji Goto said Thursday she is pinning all her hopes on the government of Shinzo Abe, as she believes he can bring her son home alive.

“Japan is a smart country. I have a 100 percent faith in (the nation’s) ability to protect its own people,” Junko Ishido told reporters at her home in Koganei, west Tokyo. “I don’t think Prime Minister Abe is the kind of person who would sit back and watch his fellow (citizen) die.

“Nor do I think he would ever do anything that would work against my son’s safe return. I believe he is totally capable of solving the crisis,” Ishido said. “Having faith in his ability to save Japanese people from trouble is all I can do.”

The latest audio message from the Islamic State group, posted on the Internet early Thursday and purportedly narrated by Goto himself, urged Jordan to free failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi by “sunset” or Jordanian air force pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh would be executed.

It did not, however, mention anything about Goto.

Ishido said the voice in the latest audio message is “unmistakably” that of her son. She said idiosyncrasies in his English intonation and pronunciation immediately clued her in.

The menacing nature of the message is at odds with her son’s personality and he must have been forced to read the message, she added.

Before that, Ishido had denied the authenticity of a voice purported to be Goto’s in an earlier video, in which her son was holding a still image of what appeared to be the decapitated body of his fellow captive, Haruna Yukawa.

Although Ishido said she thinks highly of Abe, a request to meet with the prime minister and his closest aide, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, was turned down.

Ishido on Wednesday morning asked Mizuho Fukushima, a lawmaker from the Social Democratic Party, to arrange a private meeting with the top leaders so she could plead for all-out efforts to rescue her son, a Fukushima aide said.

Abe and Suga both said they were too busy.

Throughout her meeting with the press, Ishido tended to ramble and occasionally was incoherent.

At times she emphasized that from now on, she will concentrate on helping children orphaned by the 2011 disasters in the Tohoku region in the belief that they are far more helpless and vulnerable than Goto.

“Am I wrong for (thinking that way)?” she asked the assembled reporters.

Her husband, Yukio Ishido, explained that his wife has been under enormous emotional stress.


Full coverage of the Islamic State hostage crisis