The wife of the Japanese journalist being held hostage by ISIS made an impassioned plea for his release Thursday as an apparent deadline passed for a prisoner swap.
Rinko Goto, wife of Kenji Goto, said in a statement: “I fear that this is the last chance for my husband.”
She spoke amid concern over the fate of Goto and a Jordanian air force pilot, Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh.
An earlier ISIS audio recording, purportedly featuring Goto, demanded the release of terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi, who is imprisoned for her role in an attempted 2005 suicide attack on a Amman hotel, in exchange for the life of Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh.
The recording stated al-Rishawi must be delivered to the Turkish border by sunset Thursday (around 9:30 a.m. ET) or a Jordanian fighter pilot held captive by the militants would be executed. NBC News was not able to independently authenticate it the video.
“We now have only a few hours left to secure his release and the life of Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh,” Rinko Goto said. “I beg the Jordanian and Japanese Government to understand that the fates of both men are in their hands.”
Jordan has demanded proof of life of the pilot, Mu'ath al-Kasaesbeh, but has not received it from ISIS, the country's information minister, Bassam Mohammed Al-Momani, told the official news agency on Thursday.
Al-Momani confirmed that al-Rishawi is still in Jordan, but said any release would have to be in exchange for both the Jordanian pilot and Goto.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a speech before Parliament Thursday that the government was seeking assistance from Jordan as it tries to secure Goto's freedom, although he did not go into details.
"We will continue to make all possible efforts so that Mr. Goto is released as soon as possible," he said, according to a translation by Reuters.
ISIS initially demanded a ransom of $200 million for the release of Goto and fellow Japanese captive Haruna Yukawa. But ISIS released a video on Saturday claiming it had beheaded Yukawa and demanding al-Rishawi's release instead.
Alex Smith and Alastair Jamieson reported from London.