NEW DELHI, India - President Barack Obama called Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Sunday to offer condolences for the apparent killing of a Japanese citizen by ISIS militants, the White House said.
Abe said the chances were high that a recording and an image of what appeared to be the decapitated body of captive Haruna Yukawa, which emerged late on Saturday, were authentic. The Japanese leader called for the immediate release of the remaining Japanese captive, veteran war correspondent Kenji Goto, and said saving Goto's life was a top priority.
Obama expressed solidarity with the Japanese people in his call, which he made from New Delhi where he had just arrived on an official visit.
"Such an act of terrorism is outrageous and impermissible, which causes me nothing but strong indignation," Abe told state broadcaster NHK earlier. "Again, I strongly demand that Mr. Kenji Goto not be harmed and be immediately released." On Tuesday, ISIS militants released a video showing Goto and Yukawa kneeling with a knife-wielding, masked man demanding a $200 million ransom for their release. A 72-hour deadline for that payment expired on Friday. In the latest recording, Goto said the Japanese government could save him by releasing female prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi held in Jordan.
Goto's mother, Junko Ishido, told NHK: “I wish it weren’t true, that it’s some mistake. I’m a mother so it’s unbearable. What I want to tell ISIS is that Kenji's ideal is world peace."
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Reuters contributed to this report.