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ISIS' Latest Hostage Demand 'Despicable,' Japan's Shinzo Abe Says

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday responded angrily to a new audio message about ISIS hostage Kenji Goto.
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TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday responded angrily to a new audio message saying ISIS hostage Kenji Goto will be killed in 24 hours if certain demands aren't met.

"It's an extremely despicable act and I feel strong anger," Abe said. "It is a very, very difficult situation, but I ordered the government to work together to secure the immediate release of Mr. Kenji Goto.”

A voice on the video said the Japanese journalist would be killed unless Jordan freed would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi from death row. It added that another ISIS captive, Jordanian pilot 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kasaesbeh, had even a shorter time to live than Goto.

The voice is allegedly that of Goto and shows him holding a photograph of al-Kaseasbeh, who has been held by ISIS since his plane crashed in Syria in December.

In Jordan, the pilot's father, Safi al-Kaseasbeh, urged the government "to meet the demands" of the group.

"All people must know, from the head of the regime to everybody else, that the safety of Mu'ath means the stability of Jordan, and the death of Mu'ath means chaos in Jordan," he told The Associated Press.

Goto's mother, Junko Ishido, reiterated that "time is running out." She added: "The expression I saw on Kenji’s face yesterday, it's one that I have never seen in all my years of raising him. I think he’s under extreme desperate pressure."

The video was posted early Tuesday. Global security firm and NBC News counterterrorism consultant Flashpoint Intelligence said it appeared to be authentic.

It is unclear exactly what options the Japanese government has to secure the release of Goto, who was captured in Syria in October. In an earlier video released Saturday, ISIS claimed it had executed Goto's fellow Japanese captive, Haruna Yukawa.


— Arata Yamamoto, Lucy Pawle and Hasani Gittens

The Associated Press contributed to this report.