The safety of the two Japanese men held hostage by the Islamic State group remained unknown after the 72-hour deadline set by the group for the Japanese government to pay $200 million in ransom in exchange for their lives passed on Friday. All-out efforts must continue to achieve their release. The extremist militant group should realize the folly of its actions and promptly release the two men.

There is no legitimacy in the acts of the group, which has threatened to kill Kenji Goto, a freelance journalist, and Haruna Yukawa, a private security contractor, if Japan fails to pay the ransom. In a video posted Tuesday on websites associated with the Islamic State, a masked man brandishing a knife and standing between the two kneeling hostages stated that Japan had “volunteered to take part in this crusade” against the group when it “donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims … and in an attempt to stop the expansion of the Islamic State, you have also donated another $100 million to train the (apostates).”

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