Goto gets sunset deadline extension

by , and

Staff Writers

A new audio message purportedly from hostage Kenji Goto on Thursday morning declared that Jordan must present female prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi at the Turkish border by sunset on Thursday, or Jordanian air force pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh would be executed immediately.

Twitter accounts linked to the Islamic State group posted the recording, accompanied by Arabic subtitles, on Thursday morning.

“I’m Kenji Goto Jogo,” the speaker said in English. “This is a voice message I’ve been told to send to you. If Sajida al-Rishawi is not ready for exchange for my life at the Turkish border by Thursday sunset, 29th of January, Mosul time, the Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh will be killed immediately.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Thursday told a news conference in Tokyo the government believes the voice is probably that of the missing journalist.

The message effectively extended the 24-hour deadline the Islamic State group set a day earlier to kill both Goto and the pilot unless Amman releases al-Rishawi, the would-be suicide bomber whose explosives failed during coordinated attacks on upscale hotels in Amman in 2005. That deadline expired at around 11 p.m. Wednesday.

The new deadline was to fall at around 5:30 p.m. local time, which corresponds to 11:30 p.m. Thursday Japan time. The new message suggested the Islamic State group was trying to seal a prisoner swap with Jordan.

But asked about the message, a high-ranking Japanese official on Thursday morning warned that a satisfactory outcome should not be a foregone conclusion. The group is just “trying to draw world attention,” the official said. “The situation still remains very tough.”

Jordan said Wednesday it is ready to free al-Rishawi if the Islamic State group releases al-Kaseasbeh, an air force pilot whose jet crashed in Syria in December. Jordanian officials, however, did not mention Goto in their public statements, raising concerns in Japan that Goto may no longer be considered a part of the deal.

On Thursday night, NHK, quoting local media outlets in Jordan, reported that Jordanian Prime Minister Abdallah Ensour held a meeting with parliamentary leaders to discuss the hostage crisis and that a news conference would be held “in several hours.”

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told CNN on Wednesday that Amman has not forgotten Goto, even though his government’s announcement stopped short of mentioning the journalist.

Goto’s release would “of course” be part of a prisoner exchange, Judeh told the TV network, but the priority for Jordan is al-Kaseasbeh’s freedom.

According to local news reports, the pilot’s father, Safi al-Kaseasbeh, met with King Abdullah at the royal palace in Amman late Wednesday and the king assured him that his son would be saved.

Asked about Jordan’s stance, the senior Japanese official said it is understandable that Jordan prioritizes the pilot over Goto in official comments.

“It’s a matter of course for Jordan,” said the official.

“Jordan has its own public opinion,” the official said.

The pilot is a member of a prominent Jordanian family and members of the public there have been quoted saying the government should prioritize the pilot over Goto in any swap.

Motohiro Ono, a noted Middle East expert and a Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker, said the worst-case scenario for Jordan is that Goto alone would be freed in exchange for al-Rishawi and the pilot would be killed. Amman is desperately trying to avoid this, Ono said.

Meanwhile, the new Internet message shows the extremists are trying to demonstrate that it is they, not Jordan, who now have the upper hand, Ono said.

In a Lower House Budget Committee meeting Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed that his administration is relying on Amman’s assistance in the matter. Japan is “asking for Jordan’s cooperation” to save Goto, he said.

“We are making utmost efforts so that Mr. Goto will be released quickly,” he said.

Goto’s family members have suffered from the rapid to and fro and his repeated brushes with execution.

Fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa was apparently beheaded last week.

Full coverage of the Islamic State hostage crisis

  • Stryke

    In 1937, during the rape of Nanking, China, the Japanese government officially sanctioned beheading contests by senior army officers, which were published in the daily newspapers. Now they are all upset because one of theirs is about to lose his head. Oh, the irony…

    • Shiki Byakko

      In 1937 the Japanese Government was an almost absolutist monarchy.

      Once again, I don’t know if you got the news, but there were the Tokyo Trials for crimes against humanity committed by the Japanese government, as well as a restructuring of the whole country, including the declaration of a new constitution and implementation of a new way of government.

      Even the way Japanese was written changed.

      But people stuck in the past cannot accept that the world has changed, and continue to blame the current Japanese government for things they have nothing to do with.

      But if you want to talk about past events, you should look up for the Yangzhou massacre perpetrated by the Qing Dynasty.

      • For once, you stick to facts, state your opinion, do not call names, do not troll… And we agree.

      • Shiki Byakko

        Just go away, creepy 40 year old stalker

      • Easy little fella! But creepy is the fact that you know how old I am.

      • Shiki Byakko

        I just asume you are the creepy guy on your profile. Thanks for the confirmation.

      • This again! Sigh!

      • Shiki Byakko

        If you want a date, go to a Hattenba

      • shut up already…

      • disfunctional dyslexic loser!

      • Shiki Byakko

        Tells me the 40 years old unstable guy that postes a ton of posts with the sole purpose of harassing. www

        I told you I was dyslexic just to see if you were enough of a scum to use it against me… guess I got my answer.

      • dyslexic troll to be exact.

      • Shiki Byakko

        Of course, because just by the way superior count of posts you have done to me, and the fact that you are basically stalking me, means I must be a troll.

        Right now I just feel pity because I just confirmed that even though you are almost double my age, you still act like a spoiled child.

      • Whatever… whiner… troll… or whatever you are. That makes sense. You have to have the last word like a little brat. Hang in there lil’ fella.

      • AmericanMuse

        No one is blameless, including Japan.

      • Shiki Byakko

        Then Italy should apologize every year for the killings perpetrated by the Roman Empire.

      • You again… I’m a paying subscriber and you are obviously an argument baiter. Go away!

      • Tap Hue

        “After the arrival of the British minister Sir Harry Parkes in 1865, Great Britain […] saw no reason to negotiate further with the [Tokugawa government] and decided to deal directly with the imperial court in Kyoto.”

        If I am not mistaken Britain also armed rebels from Satsuma and Choshu to overthrow the rather moderate Tokugawa government. Criminals, or to be polite opportunists, had the upper hand in the Meiji Empire. Those who suffered the most were the Japanese themselves: peasants raised revolts in the 1880s.

        The game of European colonial empires continued after the League of Nations came to be in 1919. To be admitted among these nations meant going by international conduct as it obtained then. How could Japan, as it sadly had become after rapidly adopting ridiculous theories forced upon it, not balance out other empires?

    • Lan Tamura

      Now is 2015…..

    • timefox

      I’m waiting for indemnity payment to the Japanese Chinese military slaughtered at Tungchow Mutiny.

      It’s marauded on by Chinese military to Japanese at Tungchow Mutiny on July 29, 1937, and Japanese is the event slaughtered in quantities.

      223 people of 385 is slaughtered. Women were killed by a cruel way in particular. There was also a lot of something bizarre killing method.

    • Gordon Graham

      Get a calendar, guy

    • James

      You must be on the Communist Party of China’s Propaganda division’s payroll.

  • It is ironic in a sense. But the nationalist left may actually get the military they want and this would help to further that agenda. But I’ve been surprised. I would have expected a self defense action when the abductions by N. Korea was reported.

  • JHK

    Free all the Muslims in japanese Prisons. What is japan doing imprisoning Muslims. Does japan want war with Allah(swt)?

    • nnnkautsar

      What are you talking about JHK ? Have you ever been in Japan? Japan is the most friendly country towards muslims. We are muslims here living in peace and free under Japanese Goverment. Japan is the best non muslim country in treating muslims. Muslims scholars, imams as well as syeikhs praises Japanese goverment. And FYI, even they are not muslims, but Japanese has practiced some sunnah of the prophet Muhammad SAW. Just pray hidayah for them.

      • JHK

        I consider any Muslim who exhibits the criteria for Shahadah to be Muslim, or Believer, even if not explicit. And in fact I agree with your points, and have no problem with them in any way. So to answer about what I am talking about is that there are Muslims in Prison in Japan even other Nations, so by definition they shouldn’t be there whether Japan or not, and at the very least ideally speaking. Therefore it is in fact Hidayah for us to think about, even before them, because it implies we are at risk of going against God(swt)’s will, and therefore at war with Allah(swt).

    • Bernd Bausch

      I guess Japan imprisons Muslims when they commit certain crimes. Same as people with other religions, or without religion. Why should they be freed?

      • JHK

        Young grasshopper, the answer to your question lies in your question.

      • Bernd Bausch

        It would be great if I were young. And I don’t see an answer in my question. I am glad criminals are locked up, no matter what god they worship.

      • JHK

        Young is relative, and extended and contracted by The One(swt) those Muslims pray to. And it is possible you may get your wish. And there is no god but God(swt).

      • Bernd Bausch

        There are many gods, especially in Japan.
        I still wonder why you think Japan should not put people in prison who broke the local laws. There are also Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, Hindu, Shintoist prisoners here.

      • JHK

        The local laws are the Laws of The Islamic State in its strictest form, by definition. And there is no god but God(swt), by definition. Therefore it calls into question why Christians, Buddhist, Hindu, and Shintoist, are prisoners in their own country. And why atheists are not killed.

      • JHK

        The Future of Japan is The Islamic State, and there are no gods, but God(swt). Your children will live to recognize this.

      • nnnkautsar

        May Allah guide you and I to the right path and open our heart for mercy to his creatures because Allah is The Highest Most Mercyfull.

      • Bernd Bausch

        They are not killed because of basic humanity. Something you don’t seem to have.

      • JHK

        Seem, is a relative word, and death is a relative result, something gods wouldnt have any control over, or you havent quite factored yet.