The United States has condemned the "heinous murder" of Japanese citizen and journalist Kenji Goto by the "terrorist group," the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
"Through his reporting, Mr. Goto courageously sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world." the White House said in a statement, citing President Barack Obama.
"Our thoughts are with Mr. Goto's family and loved ones, and we stand today in solidarity with Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese people in denouncing this barbaric act. We applaud Japan's steadfast commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Middle East and globally, including its generous assistance for innocent people affected by the conflicts in the region. Standing together with a broad coalition of allies and partners, the United States will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy ISlL," it quoted the president as saying.
Goto went missing in October in Syria, apparently while trying to rescue 42-year-old Yukawa, a private military company operator, who was abducted by the militants in August. In the video posted on January 24, the Islamic State said it had killed Yukawa, and demanded the release of al-Rishawi in exchange for Goto, while dropping a ransom of USD 200 million it initially asked on January 20.
The ransom demanded by the militants was the same amount of money as that Abe pledged on December 17 in Cairo during his trip to the Middle East, on promoting efforts against the Islamic State militants, including extending support to refugees from Iraq and Syria.