Japan special envoy hopeful about release of hostage, pilot

2015-01-27 08:36

A special Japanese envoy in Jordan has expressed hope that both a Japanese hostage and a Jordanian pilot held by Islamic militants will return home “with a smile on their faces”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yasuhide Nakayama said he hopes the two countries can cooperate to secure the release of the two men from the Islamic State group.

Nakayama spoke to reporters last night after another day of crisis talks in the Jordanian capital.

Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh has been held by the extremist Islamic State group after crashing in December.

A video posted online this weekend purported to show that one of two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State was killed after a deadline for ransom passed. It also appeared to relay the group’s new demand for the other’s freedom: a prisoner exchange.

The demand was for the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a woman arrested in Jordan in 2005 on suspicion of trying to take part in an attack in which others killed dozens at Jordanian hotels.

The static image shown in a video file showed hostage Kenji Goto, alone, in handcuffs and dressed in orange, holding a photo of what appeared to be beheaded compatriot Haruna Yukawa.

The video came four days after the militant group demanded that Japan’s government pay $200 million within 72 hours for the two hostages’ release.

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