Japan says it has not established contact with ISIS as the Islamic militant group’s deadline nears for the country to pay a $200 million ransom to spare the lives of two hostages.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that the country had not heard anything from the militants and didn’t know what situation the two hostages were in.
The countr is however, making efforts to reach ISIS through third parties, like governments in the region or local tribal leaders.
The Japanese government says it estimates ISIS’ ultimatum will expire at 2:50 p.m. Friday, Tokyo time and Suga said ‘’ we are aiming to save them as soon as possible.”
Japan has repeatedly stressed that its military, which is constitutionally forbidden from taking action other than for self-defense, isn’t involved in the international airstrikes against ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq.
The masked militant speaking in the ISIS video linked the group’s ransom demand to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent pledge of $200 million in financial aid to countries affected by the militant group.
The two Japanese being held hostage are Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa,