"If this information [on hostages] is true, threats under the guise of human life are unacceptable and outrageous. We will make maximum efforts to release them [the hostages] in the nearest future. We will not let terrorism bend us and will continue to contribute to the fight against terrorism with the international community," Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.
Earlier in the day, a video apparently released by the Islamic State appeared on the Internet. The video showed a man, dressed in black with his face covered, holding a knife over two men on their knees. The militant demanded $200 million in ransom from Tokyo in exchange for the captives which were claimed to be Japanese citizens. Haruna Yukawa, the founder of a private security firm, and Kenji Goto, a freelance journalist, were abducted in Syria last year.
Earlier on Tuesday, Abe said that Japan was not going to give up the help it promised to fight the IS.
The Islamic State is a jihadist group that has taken areas of Iraq and Syria under its control. Infamous for their cruelty, the insurgents have kidnapped large numbers of people, including military personnel and journalists. Last year, the group released several videos showing the executions of journalists and aid workers.