Japan, Jordan Working on Fate of Captive Japanese Journalist
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Japan was working closely with Jordan on Friday to find out what was happening to a Japanese journalist held by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants after a deadline passed for the release of an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber on death-row in Jordan.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said every effort was being made to secure the release of journalist Kenji Goto. "We are gathering and analyzing information while asking for cooperation from Jordan and other countries, making every effort to free Kenji Goto," Abe told a parliamentary panel.
Jordan said on Thursday it was still holding the Iraqi woman death-row prisoner as a deadline passed for her release set by the militants, who threatened to kill a Jordanian pilot unless she was handed over by sunset.
An audio message purportedly from Goto said the pilot would be killed unless Jordan freed Sajida al-Rishawi, who is on death row for her role in a 2005 suicide bomb attack that killed 60 people in Amman.
The message postponed a previous deadline set on Tuesday in which Goto said he would be killed within 24 hours if Rishawi was not freed.
About an hour before the new deadline was due to pass, government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani said Jordan was still holding Rishawi.
"We want proof ... that the pilot is alive so that we can proceed with what we said yesterday -- exchanging the prisoner with our pilot," Momani told Reuters.
The pilot, Muath al-Kasaesbeh, was captured after his jet crashed in northeastern Syria in December during a bombing mission against ISIL.