Japanese government now wants to increase support for the fight against terror
Also, the second Japanese hostage ("This knife will be your nightmare"), journalist Kenji Goto, was apparently killed by IS. A video, launched by Al-Furqan media, shows the body of the decapitated man who fell into the hands of the jihadists last October at the end of a roughly one-minute clip. According to British media reports, the video is considered authentic, the sequence and type of footage are typical. Al-Furqan is considered a media station of the IS.
The "Message to the Japanese government", as the vodeo is titled, has as its executing murderer an IS man who speaks with a noticeable British accent, prompting some British newspapers to say "Jihadi John" identified as the culprit.
Even if the video, now removed from more easily accessible places, in the reporting still with usual reservations ("not 100 percent authenticated") Politicians such as U.S. President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron and the Japanese leadership have reacted with strong condemnations to the murder of the journalist.
He will "never forgive the terrorists. Japan will never bow to terrorism and is determined to fulfill its responsibilities in the international community’s fight against terrorism", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is quoted as saying.
According to information from the Guardian, the act of violence by IS jihadists could confirm Abe in a course that amounts to an expansion of military clout. Already, the defense budget is said to have increased sharply under Abe. In Japan, however, as a result of the Second World War, the army is subject to specialfangled constraints – the orientation to defense gives strict guidelines. With the IS murders of the two Japanese, Abe could now get arguments to soften the catch on this point – and to make his case in the "War on terror" to engage more strongly.
So far, Japan’s contribution to the anti-IS coalition has been comparatively restrained. The country is participating with trainers and, above all, with considerable financial aid: the $200 million Shinzo Abe pledged to Arab countries in the fight against terrorism was exactly the same as the lottery money IS demanded in an initial video that presented the two Japanese hostages and described the Japanese financial gift to Arab countries as a "stupid decision" turned out with bad consequences.
The Japanese government refused from the beginning to pay lottery money. Humanitarian aid will now be expanded, Abe said this morning: "Japan will resolutely ame its responsibilities in the international community in the fight against terrorism." Observers doubt whether the Japanese public will follow him on this course.
Recently there had been a vague hope that Kenji Goto might be released in exchange for Sajida al-Rishawi. The woman is imprisoned in Jordan for preparing a suicide bombing and has close, even familial, ties to al-Qaeda. Apparently, it is important to the IS, which is willing to drop its lottery claim for it. The deal did not materialize, however, because a Jordanian pilot in the hands of the IS was also part of the exchange deal. Jordan wanted to make sure the man was still alive. This guarantee did not materialize.