JOINING THE FIGHT? ISIS Execution has Japan Questioning Engagement

They better get busy fast!

From the prime minister to ordinary people, Japanese were shocked Sunday at a video purportedly showing one of two Japanese hostages of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group had been killed.

With attention focused on efforts to save the other hostage, some also criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive for a more assertive Japan as responsible for the hostage crisis.

A somber Abe appeared on public broadcaster NHK early Sunday demanding the militants release 47-year-old journalist Kenji Goto unharmed. He said the video was likely authentic, although he added that the government was still reviewing it. He offered condolences to the family and friends of Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old adventurer taken hostage in Syria last year.

Abe declined to comment on the message in the video, which demanded a prisoner exchange for Goto. He said only that the government was still working on the situation and reiterated that Japan condemns terrorism.

“I am left speechless,” he said. “We strongly and totally criticize such acts.”

Yukawa’s father, Shoichi, told reporters he hoped “deep in his heart” that the news of his son’s killing was not true.

“If I am ever reunited with him, I just want to give him a big hug,” he said.

President Barack Obama condemned what he called “the brutal murder” of Yukawa and offered condolences to Abe. Obama’s statement didn’t say how the U.S. knew Yukawa was dead.

While visiting India, Obama said the United States will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Japan and called for the immediate release of Goto.

French President Francois Hollande said he “strongly condemned the barbaric murder” of Yukawa and praised Japan’s “determined engagement in the fight against international terrorism.”

Read more: CBS News

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