Japan Seeking Jordan Help on Hostage

Japan Seeking Jordan Help on HostageJapan Seeking Jordan Help on Hostage

Japan sought help from Jordan and other countries Monday in its race to save a hostage held by the extremist Islamic State militant group, with no signs of progress on securing his release.

The chief government spokesman refused direct comment on the contents of talks with Jordan, where a Japanese envoy is coordinating regional efforts to save hostage Kenji Goto.

IS said in an online video on January 20 that it had two Japanese hostages and would kill them within 72 hours unless it paid $200 million, AP reported.

Over the weekend, a new, unverified video showed a still photo of Goto, a 47-year-old journalist, holding a picture of what appears to be the body of fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa.

It included a recording of a voice claiming to be Goto, saying his captors want a prisoner exchange instead of ransom.

Asked whether the latest demand which brings Jordan into the picture makes the situation more complex, Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary avoided a straight answer, but said, “Naturally, Jordan has its own thoughts.”

“The government is doing its utmost as the situation is still developing,” he told reporters. “We are seeking cooperation from every possible party toward a release (of the remaining hostage).”

In Amman, Yasuhide Nakayama, the Japanese deputy foreign minister in charge of the crisis, emerged from meetings with no fresh progress to report.

“Due to the nature of is problem, please understand why I cannot disclose information such as with whom I had meetings,” he said.

Some in Japan are critical of the two men for taking such risks. Some Japanese also are criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for pursuing a more assertive foreign policy, saying it may have contributed to the crisis.