TOKYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday branded the murder of a Japanese hostage by Islamic State militants as “outrageous and unforgivable” and demanded the immediate release of a second captive, amid growing global revulsion.
The apparent beheading of self-employed security contractor Haruna Yukawa was announce d in a video generally agreed to be credible, and appeared to mark a grave turn of events in a crisis that has gripped Japan for nearly a week.
“Such an act of terrorism is outrageous and unforgivable,” Abe told broadcaster NHK. “I condemn it strongly and resolutely,” he said, calling for the immediate freeing of Yukawa’s fellow captive, freelance journalist Kenji Goto.
In a city outside Tokyo, Shoichi Yukawa told of the horror he had felt when he learnt that threats to kill his son had been carried out.
“I thought ‘Ah, this finally happened’ and was filled with regret,” he said.
“I went totally blank, I was only sorry… I had no words,” the father said. “In my mind, I wish very much that this wasn’t true.”
US President Barack Obama led the worldwide condemnation of what he called the Islamic State group’s “brutal murder” of the security contractor.
Obama, who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday for a three-day visit, telephoned Abe from the Indian capital “to offer condolences for the murder… of Japanese citizen Haruna Yukawa and to convey solidarity with the Japanese people,” a White House statement said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron decried the movement’s “murderous barbarity,” and French President Francois Hollande labeled it a “barbaric assassination.”
Australia’s Tony Abbot called it “an absolute atrocity” carried out by a “death cult.”