Islamic State the radical militant group released a video online Tuesday that showed two captives who are Japanese. The video threatened to kill the two unless the group was given $200 million in ransom.
The figure clad in black holding a knife and standing with a barren landscaped as a backdrop had two men kneeling beside him wearing orange clothing, said Japan had only 72 hours to pressure its government to stop support of the international coalition waging a bombing campaign against the IS.
The militant spoke in English and demanded 200 million but did not specify the type of currency, but a subtitle in Arabic identified the amount in U.S. dollars.
In the footage, the men’s names were given as Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa.
The video did not have a date, but during a visit on January 17 to Cairo, Shinzo Abe the Prime Minister of Japan pledged $200 million in non-military aid for countries fighting the IS.
On Tuesday, Abe, while in Jerusalem said that the threat made by the Islamic State against the two captives was not acceptable.
He called for the immediate release of the citizens of Japan unharmed. He added that the international community needed to respond firmly as well as cooperate without giving into any terrorism.
The latest video resembled the others IS has distributed in which its captives are either threatened or killed.
However, it seems to be the first time cash has been demanded in exchange for captives.
Abe stressed the aid that Japan gave Egypt was for solely humanitarian purposes and that Tokyo would maintain its contribution to peace and prosperity across the region.
The apparent capture of two Japanese citizens marks the first hostage crisis for the Abe government since January of 2013 when the Islamist militants killed 10 Japanese citizens at an Algeria gas complex.
Asked if Japan would pay the ransom to secure the release of the two captives, Abe replied that the upmost priority to saving lives while gathering information with other countries help.
The foreign ministry in Japan said it was checking the authenticity of the video. Cabinet ministers announced they had a meeting to talk about the response by the government to the video.