One of the two hostages held and threatened of death by the ISIS group is a Christian.
According to media reports, Kenji Goto is Japanese Christian journalist who was captured by Islamic State militants when he returned to Syria to help his friend Haruna Yukawa who had been earlier captured by the militants. ISIS is demanding $200m from the Japanese government for the release of Kenji Goto Jogo and Haruna Yukawa, who was captured in August 2014 while fighting with Suqour al-Sham, a Syrian opposition group. In a video released by ISIS, a militant with a British-sounding accent said that the two hostages will be killed unless Japan pays the ransom within 72 hours.
Kenji Goto, who had returned to Syria in late October 2014, in order to help his friend Yukawa, has been missing since then. Kenji Goto’s disappearance had not been reported until Tuesday’s video apparently showing him and Yukawa; kneeling in orange t-shirts next to a masked Islamic State militant brandishing a knife.
Prior to his disappearance, while talking to Reuters, 47 year-old Kenji Goto said,”He was hapless and didn’t know what he was doing. He needed someone with experience to help him.” Yukawa’s abduction that month troubled Kenji Goto, who had an urge to do something to help Yukawa. “I need to go there at least once and see my fixers and ask them what the current situation is. I need to talk to them face to face. I think that’s necessary,” Goto said.
Kenji Goto, converted to Christianity in 1997, belongs to the United Church of Christ in Japan. He used to speak of his Christian faith in the context of his job. Kenji Goto began working as a full-time war correspondent in 1996 and had established a reputation as a cautious and steadfast operator for Japanese broadcasters, including NHK.
“I have seen horrible places and have risked my life, but I know that somehow God will always save me,” Goto said in May. But he told the same publication that he never risked anything dangerous, citing a passage in the Bible, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”