The Committee to Protect Journalists has officially called on Japan to "explore" all options to ensure the release of a Japanese journalist and another Japanese citizen held hostage by the Islamic State militant group.
An online video posted Tuesday shows an alleged ISIS member standing between Kenji Goto, a freelance war correspondent, and Haruna Yukawa, a self-described military contractor, demanding a $200 million ransom within 72 hours. For noncompliance, the militant group threatened to kill both men; the deadline expired at 2:50 p.m. JST (12:50 a.m. EST).
"Kenji Goto's abduction underscores the high risk of kidnapping in northern Syria, including for international journalists and humanitarian workers who have been targeted solely for who they are and regardless of their intentions," CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said. "We call on the Japanese government to explore all available options to resolve this crisis."
With no word from the Islamic State militant group, the fate of the hostages is unknown at this time.