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Efforts on to secure release of hostages: Japanese Minister

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Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that Japan was making all efforts for the swift release of two men held captive by the Islamic State but added that there was no change in Tokyo’s stance of not giving in to terrorism.

He said Japan was getting help from various countries and doing its best to relay its explanations of the purpose of its aid to the region to Islamic State militants.

AP adds:

Japan faces deadline

The deadline for paying ransom for two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State group was fast approaching early Friday with no signs of a breakthrough.

With time running short, the mother of one of the hostages, journalist Kenji Goto, appealed for an end to hatred and destruction.

“My son is not an enemy of the Islamic State,” Junko Ishido said in a tearful appearance in Tokyo. She said she was astonished to learn from her daughter—in—law that she had a newborn baby, and said the child needs his father. In very Japanese fashion, she apologized repeatedly for “all the trouble my son has caused.”

The status of efforts to free the two men was unclear, with hours to go before the presumed deadline.

The national broadcaster NHK reported that it had received a message from Islamic State “public relations” saying that a statement would be released sometime soon.

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