05:22 GMT29 January 2020
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    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed his government to resort to all possible measures to have two hostages released. IS militants threatened to kill the captives unless a $200-million ransom is paid by the Japanese government.

    TOKYO, January 21 (Sputnik) — Japan will take all diplomatic measures necessary for the release of its two citizens held by the Islamic State (IS), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday.

    "I have instructed [the government] that we will exhaust all possible measures to have the two freed, using all diplomatic channels, all diplomatic routes we have built so far," Abe was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency. "Japan will never give in to terrorism," he added.

    On Tuesday, the Islamic State posted a video online, showing two Japanese captives and a man, dressed in black, holding a knife. He threatened to kill the hostages unless a $200-million ransom is paid by the Japanese government.

    The sum matches the amount pledged to countries fighting against the IS by Abe on Saturday in Cairo during his visit to the Middle East.

    However, on Wednesday Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stressed that Abe had promised only “non-military” support for the anti-IS coalition, according to Kyodo.

    The captives are thought to be Haruna Yukawa, the founder of a private security firm, and Kenji Goto, a freelance journalist, both abducted in Syria last year.


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