A Japanese journalist, who claims be friends within the higher ups of the Islamic State has promised on Japanese Television that he would do everything he can to help save the hostages.
The Islamic militant group ISIS had warned in a propaganda video posted on 20 January 2015 that they had two Japanese nationals in their captivity and that they would be beheaded unless a ransom of $200 million is paid within 72 hours. Since the passing of the deadline at 11.20 am (IST), the fate of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa remains uncertain.
At this juncture, journalist Kosuke Shamil Tsuneoka's promise would seem like a welcome proposition for the Japanese government. Tsuneoka has said that he is willing to step in and negotiate with the senior officials of the ISIS on the hostages' behalf, reports Daily Mail.
However, he claims that the authorities are not willing to speak to him, because in adherence to the Japanese terrorist laws, he could be prosecuted. He was even stopped from travelling to Syria last year, as the officials believed he was planning to escort a young would-be jihadist on his journey.
Tsuneoka, who converted to Islam, denies these allegations. He also trivialises a controversial photo of him posing with a gun in front of the ISIS flag as nothing more than an "amusing souvenir".
Nevertheless, Tsuneoka claims to be willing to help the government in saving the lives of Goto and Haruna, "despite being detained illegally by Tokyo police".
Tsuneoka is one of the only journalists who have been allowed in to report from inside the ISIS caliphate and has warned he can negotiate only if the Japanese authorities give him "space".