Tokyo: The wife of slain Japanese hostage Kenji Goto said today that she was devastated but proud of her husband, who was beheaded by Islamic State extremists. In a statement issued through the British-based journalist group Rory Peck Trust, Rinko Jogo requested privacy for her family as they deal with their loss, and thanked those who had supported them.
“I remain extremely proud of my husband, who reported the plight of people in conflict areas like Iraq, Somalia and Syria,” she said.
“It was his passion to highlight the effects on ordinary people, especially through the eyes of children, and to inform the rest of us of the tragedies of war,” she said.
Goto left for Syria in late October just a few weeks after the birth of the couple’s youngest daughter. Soon after, he was captured by the militants. Appalled and saddened by news of Goto’s death following the release of a video showing his killing, purportedly by the Islamic State group, Japan has ordered heightened security precautions at airports and at Japanese facilities overseas, such as embassies and schools.
The government also has called on all journalists and others in areas near the conflict to withdraw, given the risk of further kidnappings or other threats.
Until now, Japan had not become directly embroiled in the fight against the militants.
In parliamentary debate today, opposition lawmakers challenged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s effort to raise Japan’s diplomatic profile through non-military support for countries fighting the Islamic State group, which control about a third of both Syria and Iraq.
Citing previous cases, including a 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo’s subways, Abe said he did not see an increased terrorist risk following savage threats in the purported Islamic State group video, which vowed to target Japanese and make the knife Goto’s killer was wielding Japan’s “nightmare.” Japan will not be cowed by such threats, Abe said.
“The terrorists are criminals,” he said. “We are determined to pursue them and hold them accountable.” Abe said Japan will persevere in providing humanitarian aid to countries fighting Islamic State extremists, saying that bowing to terrorist intimidation would prevent Japan from providing medical assistance and other aid it views as necessary for helping to restore stability in the region.