Islamic State steps up pressure on Japan, Jordan
TAKESHI KUMON, Nikkei staff writer
AMMAN, Jordan -- A new image of captive Japanese journalist Kenji Goto released Tuesday puts pressure on the Amman government by setting a 24-hour deadline for releasing an imprisoned terrorist in exchange for his life and a Jordanian hostage.
"I've been told this is my last message," a voice thought to be that of Goto says, calling on the government of Jordan to save him and the Jordanian military pilot also thought to be held by Islamic State militants.
His captors seem to be losing patience over Jordan's unwillingness to release Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman facing death for an attempted suicide bombing here.
"She has been a prisoner for a decade, and I've only been a prisoner for a few months," the voice says, asking for a swap.
The first video showing the two Japanese hostages was released Jan. 20, demanding ransom within 72 hours. The much shorter new deadline appears to be aimed at pressuring Jordan. Islamic State will likely blame the Jordanian government for any deaths.
The voice tells the Japanese government to put "all the political pressure on Jordan."
The recording is accompanied by an image of a man thought to be Goto, holding a large photo of a man believed to be the pilot.
Islamic State dropped its original $200 million demand in a previous video, released Saturday.
Meanwhile, Japan and Jordan are believed to have discussed Tuesday the possibility of exchanging the death-row inmate with the two hostages. But the Jordanian public is strongly against releasing the terrorist.
The Jordan Times, an English language newspaper, reported Monday that Islamic State is also demanding the release of Ziad al-Karboli, another Iraqi terrorist held in Jordan, in addition to al-Rishawi.