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    Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, one of the two hostages being held for ransom by the Islamic State militant group.

    Mother of Japanese Hostage Pleads IS to Spare Her Son's Life

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    As two Japanese hostages face execution unless Japan is willing to pay the Islamic State militants $200 million, the 78-year old mother of one of the hostages has offered her life in exchange for his.

    MOSCOW, January 23 (Sputnik) — The mother of Kenji Goto, one of the two hostages being held by the Islamic State group, pleaded with the group not to kill him shortly before the end of the deadline for a ransom payment, The Japan Times reports.

    Junko Ishido, 78, attended a press conference in Tokyo Friday morning, saying that Goto, 47, is "not an enemy of the Islamic faith," noting that his work as a journalist in Middle Eastern warzones had always been neutral. "If I could offer my life, I would plead that my son be released; it would be a small sacrifice on my part," Al-Arabiya quoted her as saying. "I have no idea how to express my sorrow," she noted.

    Ms. Ishido told reporters that she had "spent the past three days just crying," The Japanese Times explained that the mother appeared to be in a highly distressed state, rambling and unable to give straightforward responses to journalists' questions.

    The journalist's mother urged the Japanese government to meet the militant group's demands, and to release Goto and Haruna Yukawa, 42, the other Japanese hostage held by the militants. "To the people of the Japanese government, please save Kenji's life," she said at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

    Ishido explained that her son had gone to the Middle East to attempt to rescue Yukawa, a friend of Goto's who had been captured by the militants in August. Goto's wife just gave birth two weeks ago, The Japan Times explained. Saying that she knew very little about the Islamic State group, she noted that Muslim children seeking to come to Japan for tourism or study would be welcome in her home.

    In a video released Tuesday, a masked militant believed to be associated with the Islamic State threatened to kill Goto and Yukawa unless Japan paid them $200 million within 72 hours. The 72-hour deadline passed at 5:50 am GMT, 2:50 pm Tokyo time.

    Earlier, Japanese officials that they were exploring "every possibility" in saving the hostages' lives, but that they were "in an extremely severe situation." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said earlier that Japan would not bow to terrorism, Al Arabiya explained.

    The $200 million ransom demanded by the IS exactly matches the amount pledged by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the anti-IS coalition by Abe last week.
    The Islamic State is a jihadist group known for multiple human rights atrocities, including the beheading of journalists, aid workers and civilians. Some of these have been documented in video and posted to the Internet. In 2014, IS took control of large portions of Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate.


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