The price for the life of the second Japanese hostage held by the Islamic State (ISIS) is not money. The ISIS has changed its demand of $200 million ransom and instead wants the release one of their "sisters" from a prison in Jordan.
In the latest ISIS video that was received by hostage Kenji Goto's family and the Japanese governement, the freelance reporter and one of the hostages held captive by the ISIS, is seen in a still image. He is holding the photo of the dead body of his fellow-prisoner, Haruna Yukawa, who was reportedly executed after the deadline for the ransom ended.
Goto's voice can be heard in the video, in which he blames Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the death of Yukawa. "You have seen the photo of my cellmate Haruna slaughtered in the land of the Islamic Caliphate. You were warned. You were given a deadline and so my captors acted upon their words."
"Abe, you killed Haruna. You did not take the threat of my captors seriously and you did not act within 72 hours," Goto accuses.
He assures his "beloved wife" Rico that he loves her and that he misses their two daughters. He appeals to his wife that she shouldn't give up and that she should ensure Abe doesn't send him to the same fate as Yukawa. He adds that his family, friends and colleagues at the independent press must continue to exert pressure on the government.
Goto discloses ISIS' latest demand and says that the Islamic State is being fair. "They no longer want money. So, you don't need to worry about funding terrorists. They are just demanding the release of their imprisoned sister Sajida al-Rishawi."
Sajida al-Rishawi has been jailed in Jordon for her alleged involvement in a series of 2005 hotel bombings in Amman during the Iraq war. Believed to be the sister of a top commander under a former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, Rishawi's belt of explosives had failed to detonate, according to NBC.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly served as a lieutenant under Zarqawi.
The demand comes in the wake of Japanese officials visiting Jordan, where Rishawi is being held captive. Goto reiterates that as soon as Rishawi is released, he would be too. "Me for her," says Goto.
He finally speaks to his wife Rico, telling her that these may be his final hours on earth and asks to ensure that these aren't his last words to her.
While there are speculations regarding the authenticity of the video, especially since it lacked the high quality that is characteristic of ISIS, Goto's mother Junko Ishido has reportedly recognised his voice.
"His face looked extremely nervous...I think he feels gravely about what is to come. This is no time to be optimistic," said Ishido.
Japenese Prime Minister Abe and US President Barack Obama have both expressed their contempt over the video. "...I am simply left speechless," Abe said in a statement. "Such [an] act of terrorism is outrageous and impermissible, which causes me nothing but strong indignation. Thus I express resolute condemnation."
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally Japan and applaud its commitment to peace and development in a region far from its shores," said Obama in a statement.