Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday branded the murder of a Japanese hostage by Islamic State militants as “outrageous and unforgivable” and demanded the immediate release of a second captive, amid a tide of global revulsion.
The apparent beheading of self-employed security contractor Haruna Yukawa was announced in a video generally agreed to be credible, and appeared to mark a grave turn of events in a crisis that has gripped Japan for nearly a week.
US President Barack Obama led the worldwide condemnation of what he called the “brutal murder”.
Obama, who arrived in New Delhi Sunday for a three-day visit, telephoned Abe from the Indian capital “to offer condolences for the murder… and to convey solidarity with the Japanese people”, said a White House statement.
The voice also reveals a new demand for the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death in Jordan for her part in multiple bombings in Amman in 2005 that killed 60 people.
The man, who speaks accented English, said the militants are no longer demanding money to save his life, but want “their sister” to be freed.