Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned on Sunday the apparent execution of a Japanese hostage held captive by the Islamic State militants, saying it is outrageous.
"An image in which Mr. Kenji Goto seems to have been murdered, was uploaded online, following the killing of Mr. Haruna Yukawa. Fully aware of unbearable pain and sorrow that his family must be feeling, I am simply left speechless," Abe said in a statement.
"I'm outraged by this atrocious and despicable terrorist act, and express resolute condemnation," the premier said, adding that the government has made utmost efforts in dealing with the case.
Abe issued the statement after a video posted on the Internet early morning showed that Goto had been beheaded.
Goto went missing in October in Syria, apparently while trying to rescue 42-year-old Yukawa, a private military company operator, who was abducted by the militants in August. In the video posted on Jan. 24, the Islamic State said it had killed Yukawa, and demanded the release of al-Rishawi in exchange for Goto, while dropping a ransom of USD 200 million it initially asked on Jan. 20. The ransom demanded by the militants was the same amount of money as that Abe pledged on Dec. 17 in Cairo during his trip to the Middle East, on promoting efforts against the Islamic State militants, including extending support to refugees from Iraq and Syria.
Abe reiterated that Japan will never give in to terrorism, and fulfill its responsibility resolutely in the international fight against terrorism. He also expressed his gratitude to world leaders and friends of Japan for showing strong solidarity and offering cooperation in Tokyo' efforts to rescue Goto.