Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Japanese PM Will Not Pay $200M Ransom to IS; IS Plans to Kill 2 Japanese If Not Paid by Jan. 23

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is caught in a difficult situation: He has vowed to save the two Japanese civilians held hostage by the Islamic State (IS) militant group, while also being pressured to uphold Japan's efforts in combating terrorism by not giving in and paying ransom, the International Business Times website reports today (January 21, 2015).

Abe said this week Japan will not "give in to terrorism" by meeting the demands of the Islamic State for a $200 million ransom within 72 hours (that is, by January 23) for hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.

Richard Weitz, director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute -- a think tank in Washington, D.C. -- said Abe has several options: He could pay up, encourage another government to extract the hostages, or rely on intermediaries to negotiate on Japan's behalf.

Abe has already sought help from Middle Eastern leaders for the rescue, but negotiating has been discouraged by the United States, which feels that doing so could give the IS terrorist group -- which is trying to establish itself as a caliphate in Iraq and Syria -- some validity.

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