Arab ambassadors to Japan denounced on Tuesday an execution of Haruna Yukawa by Islamic State (ISIL) militants and called for the immediate release of a remaining hostage Kenji Goto.
"We condemn in the strongest terms and feel outrages over a barbaric act against a citizen of Japan, which is a friendly nation to Arab countries, "the Council of Arab Ambassadors said in a statement.
The council, represented by 20 envoys and heads of mission from Middle Eastern and North African countries, also urged ISIL militant group to immediately release Goto. "We hope for an early resolution of the hostage crisis, and firmly support Japan's enhanced efforts to combat terrorism," the statement said.
Speaking at the Japan National Press Club, Waleed Siam, head of the council and the representative of the Permanent General Mission of Palestine, said Japan has repeatedly extended humanitarian and economic aid to Arab countries, and the Arab people have a feeling of respect for Japan.
"I hope the hostage will be released immediately, and safely return to Japan and his family. This is a terrorist action and we must continue the fight against it. What the group is doing has nothing to do with Islam," said Siam, stressing that the Islamic State is not a country nor represent Arabs and Islam.
The online video posted on January 24 showed a still image of freelance journalist Goto, 47, holding a picture of 42-year-old Yukawa's body. In an English audio message attached to the video, a man claiming to be the surviving hostage Goto said the Islamic State is demanding the release of Sajida Al-Rishawi in exchange for Goto, while dropping the ransom demand.
Al-Rishawi, currently in prison in Jordan, is an Iraqi woman who was sent on an Al-Qaeda bombing mission to Amman in 2005, which killed at least 57 people. "I believe the Jordanian government will make efforts for the release of the Japanese hostage with every possible measure," he said.
Goto went missing in October shortly after posting on his Twitter account that he was in Syria, while Yukawa, a private military company operator, was abducted by the militants in August.
On January 20, ISIL posted an online video showing the two Japanese hostages kneeling before a knife-wielding militant, who threatened to kill the captives unless Japan pays a ransom of USD 200 million within 72 hours.
The ransom demanded by the militants was the same amount of money as that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged on January 17 in Cairo during his six-day trip to the Middle East, on promoting efforts against ISIL militants, including extending support to refugees from Iraq and Syria.