Tokyo: A picture and a video released by the Islamic State (IS) militants on Saturday claimed that the jihadist group had beheaded Haruna Yukawa — one of the two Japanese nationals it held hostage, reports said.
An audio recording — purportedly of the second Japanese hostage Kenji Goto (47) — claims that Yukawa has been beheaded by the IS militants.
Reports also stated that in the audio Goto blames Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for Yukawa's death and pleads that the demands for his release be met else he too will be killed by the ISIS.
The Islamic militants have demanded the release of a failed female suicide bomber and a ransom of $200 million in return for the freedom of Japanese hostages.
The Japanese government is trying to ascertain the authenticity of the clip and has condemned the message.
Japanese government official Yoshihide Suga condemned the latest video as "outrageous and unacceptable".
BBC reported that Japan`s cabinet ministers were holding an emergency meeting.
Japanese PM Abe expressed anger at the video, and insisted Tokyo will not bow to terrorism.
He reiterated the government`s view that the video, which appeared to show an executed Haruna Yukawa with the voice of captive Kenji Goto, was "an outrageous and unacceptable act of violence".
"I have a strong sense of anger," Abe told reporters in brief remarks after an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the crisis. "We will not give in to terrorism."
Demanding the immediate release of journalist Goto unharmed, Abe said Japan will work with other countries to secure his release. He did not take questions from reporters.
Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at the beginning of his tour of the Middle East, announced that Japan would be donating $200 million in non-military aid to countries fighting the IS in order to help build human capacities and infrastructure.
IS claimed that the ransom amount was the same as the financial aid pledged by Abe to countries affected by the militant group.
(With Agency Inputs)