Tokyo confirms death of hostage and takes time on the exchange of prisoners
Abe government denounces the "terrible and unforgivable execution" of Haruna Yukawa, held hostage along with Kenji Goto by Islamic State terrorists in Syria. Fundamentalists want the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, who in 2005 took part in the attack in Amman which killed 60 people. Beijing attacks the Land of the Rising Sun: "The price that Japan has paid for its support to Washington."

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The Japanese government has confirmed the death of Haruna Yukawa, one of the Japanese hostages in the hands of the Islamic State in Syria. The government headed by Shinzo Abe, however, has not yet responded to the demands of the terrorists, who after a ransom of 200 million dollars now want the release of a prisoner. In exchange of Kenji Goto Jogo, the Christian journalist still in the hands of the Islamic group, Sajida al-Rishawi should be released. The woman tried to blow herself up in Jordan after contributing to the attack of 9 November 2005 in Amman, which killed 60 people. She is currently being held in prison in the Kingdom.

The publication of the video announcing the death of the first hostage took place on 24 November. In the video Kenji Goto holds photos of the execution of Yukawa and implores the government to save his life. At first, Tokyo took time arguing that it should verify the authenticity of the video. After confirmation, it denounced "the terrible and unforgivable execution" of their citizen and asked the Islamic state to "immediately release" Goto.

The message suggests that the exchange of prisoners was aired on radio al-Bayan, controlled by Sunni extremists, which broadcasts in Iraq and Syria. The text, which is repeated at regular intervals, says: "The Islamic State has carried out its threat ... it has executed Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa after the expiry of the deadline given. The second hostage [Goto] is calling on his relatives to put pressure on the [Japanese] government for the release of our sister Sajida al-Rishawi, held in the jails of the oppressors in Jordan, in exchange for his release".

World leaders have expressed their sorrow for the murder: Barack Obama has termed it "brutal," while British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of "barbarism." There was however, one notable exception, the Chinese government: The Beijing ambassador in Japan expressed the condolences of his executive, but an editorial in today's Global Times - close to the Communist Party - states that Japan's support of the United States is to be blamed and in essence speaks of "pre-announced tragedy ".

The text of the article states that "the killing of the Japanese hostage is more or less the price that Japan has paid for its support to Washington. East Asian countries are not supposed to be key targets" of Islamic State jihadis or global terrorism".