As the hostage drama continues over two Japanese held by the Islamic State group, journalists versed in Middle Eastern affairs are questioning how the Abe administration is handling the crisis.

The fate of the two men — freelance journalist Kenji Goto, 47, and Haruna Yukawa, 42 — hangs in the balance, now that the 72-hour deadline the Japanese government presumes was 2:50 p.m. Friday has passed.

The Islamic State militants released a video on the Internet midday Tuesday showing the two Japanese in orange jump suits, kneeling and being threatened by a masked, knife-wielding man. The man warned, in English with a British accent, that the two would be killed unless Tokyo paid a $200 million ransom within 72 hours.