The Japanese government said Tuesday it will not give in to "terrorism" after a video emerged in which Islamic State (ISIS) threatened to kill two Japanese men unless a $200 million ransom was paid, according to AFP.
"Our country's stance – contributing to the fight against terrorism without giving in – remains unchanged," chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.
"The video contains threats to murder two people who appear to be Japanese nationals," said Suga. "We are checking if it's credible."
"Taking people hostage is unforgivable and I feel strong anger," he added. "The Japanese government is determined to do its best to secure the release of the Japanese as soon as possible."
"The prime minister will seek cooperation on this issue, when he meets (Abbas) and government officials," he said. "The government will dispatch State Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasuhide Nakayama to Amman in Jordan to give instructions." Nakayama is deputy foreign minister.
Footage of the press conference, currently only available in Japanese, is below.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled the majority of his touring schedule for the day, he announced in a press conference, but will still meet Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as scheduled. Abe will also return to Japan early.
Abe and Nakayama spoke by phone shortly after ISIS made the threats, Japanese media reports Tuesday, wherein Abe emphasized Tokyo's imperative to investigate the veracity of the clip and the threat and to work extensively with the international community to attempt to secure the hostages' release.
"I strongly demand that they not be harmed and that they be immediately released," Abe said at a news conference during a visit to Jerusalem. "I am extremely indignant at such an act."
'Jihadi John' striking again?
ISIS uploaded the video to jihadist websites earlier Tuesday, showing a British ISIS terrorist with the two captives, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.
The terrorist, brandishing a knife and dressed in black, claims that the hostage situation is "revenge" for Japan pledging non-military aid to the international coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
"You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims," the terrorist states.
The video was posted to YouTube several minutes after the threats hit international news outlets, but has since been pulled down over the content violating YouTube's terms of service.
The British Foreign Office has stated that it is investigating whether the terrorist is "Jihadi John," the British man behind the decapitations of four Western hostages in videos released slowly over the past six months.