Video shows apparent death of Japan journalist

TOKYO - Japan is trying to authenticate a video published on the Internet late Saturday that purports to show a Japanese hostage being beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The video appears to show a militant with a British accent beheading journalist Kenji Goto, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

It was released less than a week after news of the beheading of another Japanese man, Haruna Yukawa, whose release Goto had reportedly travelled to Syria to seek.

Japanese officials had been working with Jordan to secure the release of Goto, 47, and a Jordanian pilot, also held by ISIL.

Japanese news agency Kyodo reported Sunday (Saturday GMT) that previous videos had said Goto would be released if Jordan freed an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber held in its prisons in exchange.

Amman has said that it was willing to free Sajida al-Rishawi, but only if it could get assurances of the safety of a Jordanian pilot also held by ISIL, complicating any swap deal.

ISIL had initially demanded $200 million for the release of Goto and Yukawa.

Saturday's video appeared to show Goto kneeling in a barren rocky environment in an orange prison jumpsuit, while a black-clothed man held him by the scruff of his neck.

"Abe," the man said, referring to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, "because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this man will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found." 

"So let the nightmare for Japan begin," he added.

NHK had reported Friday that negotiators had made no progress in securing the release of Goto or the pilot. 

"It has become deadlocked," Yasuhide Nakayama, the man leading Japan's emergency-response team in Amman, Jordan, said.

"Staying vigilant, we will continue analyzing and examining information as the government is making concerted efforts together."

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