Japan PM: Credibility of Hostage Video High

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the "credibility" of a video announcing the execution of a Japanese hostage by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group was "high".

Japan PM: Credibility of Hostage Video High

"We have been looking into its authenticity, but unfortunately at the moment we cannot help saying its credibility is high," he said on the public network NHK on Sunday.

"Considering the unbearable pain and sorrow that his family must be feeling, I am speechless."

"Such act of terrorism is outrageous and impermissible, it causes me nothing but strong indignation," he added. "I condemn it strongly and resolutely."

The government will continue analysing the images to fully confirm the authenticity of the video, Abe said.

The nearly three-minute recording, posted online on Saturday, shows a still image of Kenji Goto, the freelance Japanese journalist who was abducted while reporting on Syria's civil war last year, holding an apparent photograph of Haruna Yukawa's slain body, with an audio recording in which Goto spoke of the ISIL group's demand for a prisoner exchange to guarantee his release.

It was not posted on any of the group's official channels and it does not bear their black and white flag. The purported execution of Yukawa is also not shown.

The Japanese government said on Saturday that the recording appeared to show that captive Haruna Yukawa has been killed. Yukawa, a private military contractor, was kidnapped in Syria last August.

Abe told reporters as he arrived at his Tokyo office early on Sunday morning that Japan "strongly demanded" the release of Goto.

The video surfaced after a deadline for Japan to pay the ISIL group a $200m ransom passed on Friday.

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