A video of a man likely to be Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese taken hostage in Syria by Islamic State group militants, was emailed to his wife prior to its release online, a government source said Sunday.
Goto went missing in October after he left for Syria.
The mail was sent to Goto’s wife Saturday morning, Japan time, the source said. The static video, which was posted on the Internet on Saturday night, was accompanied by an audio message of a man with a voice sounding like that of 47-year-old Goto, according to the source.
The government is analyzing the content of the email on the assumption that it was sent by a person related to the Islamic State group, judging the video is highly credible, the source said.
The video posted online displayed Goto holding a picture purportedly showing the corpse of slain 42-year-old fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa. It was uploaded together with an audio message demanding the release of Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, a female Iraqi suicide bomber now imprisoned in Jordan.
The email address used to send the video appeared to be the same one used for around 10 emails sent to Goto’s wife from November to this month, the source said.
The Japanese government tried to contact the group using the email address, the source said.
According to analyses by European and U.S. intelligence agencies, the email address bears some common characteristics of an address used by the Islamic State group in previous hostage incidents, the source said.