Islamic State militants said they had beheaded a second Japanese hostage, journalist Kenji Goto, prompting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to vow to step up humanitarian aid to the group's opponents in the Middle East and help bring his killers to justice.
"I feel intense indignation at this utterly cruel and despicable act of terrorism," a grim-faced Abe told an emergency Cabinet meeting early on Sunday, shortly after a video surfaced purporting to show the beheading of Goto, after the failure of international efforts to secure his release through a prisoner swap.
The hardline Islamist group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, released the video showing a hooded man standing over Goto with a knife to his throat, followed by footage of a head put on the back of a human body. Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said the video appeared to be genuine.
The video was released exactly a week after footage appearing to show the beheaded body of another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa.
"I will never forgive these terrorists," Abe said. "Japan will work with the international community to bring those responsible for this crime to justice. Japan will never give in to terrorism."