12.20 pm (IST): Japan reiterated on Saturday that it will not give up efforts to save the two hostages 'till the very end'. There has been no official word yet on the fate of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa.
4.22 pm (IST): Twitter is abuzz with posts that pro-ISIS accounts were tweeting about the execution of the two Japanese hostages.
One post by an ISIS-affiliate account said that the executions were captured on video, which was being 'sent to production'.
"Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yakwa have just been executed because of Japan's choices.Video is being sent to production," the tweet said.
Several Twitterati reacted to the buzz on the micro-blogging site about the executions.
ISIS goon claims that Goto and Yukawa were just executed and confirmation is being sent to production.
— Brett Fujioka (@Brett_Fujioka) January 23, 2015
— Godless Utopia (@GodlessUtopia) January 23, 2015
Some ISIS accounts say Japanese hostages were executed. — Cagri (@CobanogluC) January 23, 2015
2.21 pm (IST): Japan does not have the legal authority for military operations against ISIS, as its pacifist constitution bans its troops fighting overseas, according to a briefing document compiled on Friday.
The Abe goverment is reportedly seeking legal changes that could allow Japan to support the US-led coalition against the Islamic State.
"We are proceeding with consideration of a legal framework to implement support activities necessary to support other militaries in contributing to Japan's peace and safety and the peace and stability of the international community," an official told Reuters.
1.27 pm (IST): ISIS has not yet sent any message about the Japanese hostages, Japan's officials said, though two hours have passed since the expiry of the deadline.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the Japanese government was still making efforts to save the hostages.
#BREAKING 'No message' from Islamist militants since hostage deadline passed: Japan
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) January 23, 2015
12.22 pm (IST): The Japanese government is trying to establish contact with ISIS through the email address that the group used to send a mail to the wife of one of the Japanese hostages, Kenji Goto, demanding ransom. However, no response has been received, The Japan Times reported.
12.10 pm (IST): Japan's Nippon TV reports an ISIS message on an affiliate account which says 'countdown has begun', according to a Reuters reporter.
Nippon TV says Islamic State has posted new message, says "countdown has begun" but no source for the information
— Mari Saito (@ReutersMariS) January 23, 2015
11.24 am: The 72-hour deadline set by the Islamic State to save the two Japanese hostages has passed, without any clear resolution to end the hostage crisis.
The deadline expired at 2.50 pm Friday, Tokyo time (12:50 a.m. ET).
10. 15 am: ISIS Set to Release 'Statement' on Hostages
The Islamic State is set to soon release a statement on the two Japanese hostages, a spokesman for the group told Japan's public broadcaster NHK.
Over an Internet call with NHK, the ISIS spokesman called Japan an 'infidel' at war with the group.
8.30 am: Mother of hostage calls for mercy - 'I have been just crying for last three days'
Junko Ishido, mother of hostage Kenji Goto, has urged ISIS to spare the life of her son.
"To all members of ISIS, Kenji [Goto] is not the enemy of ISIS. Please release him," she said on Thursday.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) January 23, 2015
"I sincerely apologise to the Japanese government and all concerned foreign countries for all the trouble that my son has caused. I have been just crying for last three days, filled with sadness. Words fail to describe how I feel. Kenji always has been a kind person ever since he was little. He was always saying, 'I want to save the lives of children in war zones," she said, according to CNN.
8.25 am: Japan claimed on Thursday that it had failed to make any contact with the militants to resolve the crisis.
The 72-hour deadline set by the Islamic State to save the lives of the two Japanese hostages it has held will expire in a few hours on Friday.
The deadline expires at 2.50 pm Friday, Tokyo time (12:50 a.m. ET). Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that no contact was established till Thursday.
ISIS had demanded a whopping $200 million in exchange for the lives of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, who otherwise are expected to meet the same fate as several American and British hostages have in the past months.
However, it is not yet clear if Japan will pay the ransom amount to the terror group. Japan seems to be stuck in a Catch-22 situation, experts believe as the country was part of a G8 communique in 2013, which said that the nations "unequivocally reject the payment of ransoms to terrorists", according to CBC.