Japan aiming to ensure safety of Japanese amid terror threats

SLAIN JOURNALIST’S MOTHER MEETS WITH REPORTERS  Junko Ishido, mother of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, believed to have been killed by Islamic State militants, meets with reporters sitting in front of his photo in Tokyo on Feb. 2. She said she was proud of her son, who always hoped for peace. Kyodo News photo

SLAIN JOURNALIST’S MOTHER MEETS WITH REPORTERS Junko Ishido, mother of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, believed to have been killed by Islamic State militants, meets with reporters sitting in front of his photo in Tokyo on Feb. 2. She said she was proud of her son, who always hoped for peace. Kyodo News photo

TOKYO  — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the ruling parties Feb. 2 to work together to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals both at home and abroad, a day after Islamic State posted online a video purporting to show the killing of a Japanese hostage.

“If we are frightened by fears of terrorism and fall into disorder after the latest tragedy, that is exactly what the terrorists want,” Abe told ruling party lawmakers at the prime minister’s office.

“We will never forgive these cruel terrorists. Japan will cooperate with the international community to make sure that they will be held responsible,” Abe said.

During the meeting, lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito party also shared information on the hostage crisis, which resulted in the killings of two Japanese men, and discussed how to prevent future terrorist attacks.

The government and the ruling parties should make the “utmost efforts” to counter terrorist threats, by gathering intelligence, strengthening border controls, and beefing up security at important facilities, Abe said.

Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi noted Japan has a history of extending “humanitarian” support to the Middle East, and said the government “should maintain its stance without being intimidated by terrorist provocations and threats.”

The video posted in the early hours of Feb. 1 shows a hooded Islamic State militant with a knife standing beside a man believed to be 47-year-old journalist Kenji Goto, who kneels in an orange jumpsuit. It includes a still image of a severed head placed on a body.

The militant says, “Abe, because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji, but it will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin.”

The hostage crisis erupted during Abe’s tour in January of the Middle East where he pledged $200 million in humanitarian and nonmilitary aid for countries battling Islamic State.

Islamic State militants posted a series of videos online, threatening to kill Goto and 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa, who is also believed to have been killed.

They first demanded a $200 million random, and then the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, arrested after her failed suicide bombing in a 2005 Amman hotel attack and currently on death row in Jordan in exchange for Goto.

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