Islamic State beheads Japanese journalist
TOKYO — Japan condemned with outrage and horror on Sunday an online video that purported to show an Islamic State group militant beheading Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. The video posted on militant websites late Saturday Middle East time ended days of negotiations to save the man and heightened fears for the life of a Jordanian fighter pilot also held hostage. “I feel indignation over this immoral and heinous act of terrorism,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after convening an emergency Cabinet meeting. “When I think of the grief of his family, I am left speechless,” he said. “The government has been doing its utmost in responding to win his release, and we are filled with deep regret.” He vowed that Japan will not give in to terrorism and will continue to provide humanitarian aid to countries fighting the Islamic State extremists. The White House released a statement in which President Barack Obama also condemned “the heinous murder” and praised Goto’s reporting, saying he “courageously sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world.” Obama applauded Japan’s “steadfast commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Middle East and globally, including its generous assistance for innocent people affected by the conflicts in the region.” “I was hoping Kenji would come back alive to thank everyone who had supported him,” Goto’s brother Junichi told Japanese public broadcaster NHK TV. “I am filled with sadness he couldn’t do it.” Goto’s mother, Junko Ishido, told NHK TV her son’s death showed he was a kind, gentle man, trying to save another hostage. That hostage, Haruna Yukawa, was shown as purportedly killed in an earlier video. The fates of Goto, a 47-year-old freelance journalist, and the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath Kaseasbeh, had been linked by militants, but Saturday’s video made no mention of the airman. Jordan’s government spokesman declined comment.
This image made from a video released by Islamic State militants on Saturday shows Japanese journalist Kenji Goto