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Japan says latest IS hostage video "likely authentic"
Japanese top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Sunday that the latest video suggesting a Japanese hostage held by the Islamic State (IS) militants was killed is likely authentic, adding that Japan is still analyzing whether the clip was posted by the IS.
Suga also said that Japan will cooperate with Jordan and other countries to secure the safe release of another IS-held Japanese hostage, but added that Japan still has no contact from the hostage takers.
In the latest video posted late Saturday, photo of Kenji Goto, a Japanese hostage, was posted and an audio message was attached saying that Haruna Yukawa, the other IS-held Japanese, was killed.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the killing of Yukawa immediately after the video was released, criticizing after a ministerial meeting on the issue that the killing was "an unforgivable act of violence."
The prime minister also demanded the release of Goto and prioritized his safety.
The latest video came after a clip showed Tuesday by IS militants that demand 200 million U.S. dollars for ransom of the two Japanese hostages within 72 hours, the same amount to Japan's support pledged by Abe to the Middle East region to fight against the IS.
The video also said that the IS militants demand the release of a female IS member imprisoned in Jordan. The prisoner reportedly launched a suicidal attack in Jordan in 2005 and killed about 50.
Secretary General of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party Sadakazu Tanigaki said early Sunday that the government finds it " not easy to deal with" the IS's fresh demand as there is a rule against nations reaching deals with terrorists, according to Japan 's Kyodo News.
Shoichi Yukawa, 74-year-old father of Haruna, told reporters that he is "distressed" by the latest development, Kyodo said.
On Friday, Goto's mother also made a tearful press conference begging the release of her son and stressing that Goto is not an enemy of the Islamic faith. She also asked the Japanese government to try their efforts to save Goto.
Japan right now has set up a task force in Amman, Jordan, to deal with the hostage crisis.
The killed hostage Yukawa reportedly entered Syria last July from southern Turkey. He is said to have been traveling to Syria and Iraq, including conflict areas, to set up bases for his Tokyo- based company, Kyodo said.
Goto, a freelancer who acquaints with Yukawa, went missing in October after he left for Syria in a move to look for Yukawa.
[Source: Xinhua, Tokyo, 25Jan15]
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