Islamic State Deadline for Japanese Hostages Passes

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from The Wall Street Journal,

The deadline for Japan to pay a $200 million ransom for two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State militants passed Friday with no reports of progress in efforts to release the two men.

Islamic State gave Japan 72 hours to pay the money in a video posted online Tuesday. The video showed a masked man with a knife threatening to kill two kneeling Japanese men unless the government paid up. Tokyo later confirmed the identities of the two men as freelance journalist Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, a self-proclaimed security contractor.

The Japanese government said the Islamic State deadline would expire around 2:50 p.m. Japan time Friday. Speaking about an hour after that time, Tokyo’s top spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the government still hadn’t heard from Islamic State.

“We will continue to make the utmost effort to release the two while asking relevant countries and various persons involved for their cooperation,” Mr. Suga said during an afternoon news conference.

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