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Japan preparing for deadline set by Islamic State for hostages

January 23, 2015, 8:53 UTC+3 TOKYO
The militants threatened in a video message released on Tuesday to murder the hostages, Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, unless they get the $200 million ransom within 72 hours
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TOKYO, January 23. /TASS/. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urgently convened the National Security Council as the deadline to pay ransom for two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State group is due to expire at 5:50 GMT on Friday, the country’s government officials said.

The militants threatened in a video message released on Tuesday to murder the hostages, Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, unless they get the $200 million ransom within 72 hours.

The council meeting held in Tokyo’s residence of the prime minister is attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and also special services representatives.

“We are doing our utmost to release the fellow citizens,” Abe said following a morning cabinet of ministers meeting. Meanwhile, Kishida refused to give details on Tokyo’s talks on the fate of the captives.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yasuhide Nakayama, who is currently in Jordan’s capital Amman to coordinate Tokyo’s attempts to save its citizens, said Japan expects to agree with the extremists. He said Japan hopes the IS will interpret Tokyo’s actions in the Middle East properly and release the hostages.

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