Japan on Tuesday announced $15.5 million to fight terrorism in the Middle East and Africa, as Tokyo tries to demonstrate its resolve despite the murder of two citizens by ISIS, according to AFP.
The amount doubles the $7.5 million in assistance that Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida pledged during a visit to Brussels in January.
Kishida said in a statement the aid was part of Japan's effort to support "counter-terrorism capacity building assistance in the Middle East/Africa," including border control, investigation and development of legal systems.
Vice foreign minister Yasuhide Nakayama will give details on the aid when he attends a global counter-terrorism conference later this week in Washington, ministry officials said.
The announcement comes weeks after a Japanese journalist and his adventurer friend were decapitated by extremists from Islamic State, aka ISIS a group whose fighters control tracts of Syria and Iraq.
The timing of those murders may have been linked to a pledge of $200 million in aid – made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Egypt, on January 17 – to "help curb the threat" of ISIS and assist refugees fleeing ISIS-controlled areas. The Islamists responded with a video in which a masked man demanded the same sum as a ransom for the life of the two Japanese hostages.
Over the following tense weeks, Abe repeatedly said Japan would not "give in to terrorism".
The terrorists later changed their demand to the release of a death row inmate from a Jordanian prison.
Tokyo pressed Jordan for its help, but the terrorists eventually announced they had murdered the pair as well as a Jordanian airman, along with photos and videos of the gruesome deeds.
Japan hopes to demonstrate its continued resolve with the fresh assistance, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper said, adding that the money would be distributed through international organizations to affected regions, including countries bordering Syria and Iraq.
A visibly upset Japanese Abe vowed to "never forgive terrorists" after the Islamic State (ISIS) released a video purportedly showing the beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.
"I am extremely angry about these heinous and despicable terrorist acts. We will never forgive terrorists," Abe told reporters in Tokyo on Sunday morning (local time), according to the AFP news agency.
"We will cooperate with the international community to make them atone for their crimes," he declared.