The "Islamic State" (IS) has released a video purportedly showing the execution of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, according to the SITE monitoring group. The Japanese government says it is trying to authenticate the video.
The jihadist group released a video on Saturday showing a hooded man slaughtering what it claims is the Japanese hostage.
"Because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable war, this knife 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," said the masked man, addressing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the unverified video.
"We can't help but feel extremely outraged at the repeat of another heinous and despicable terrorist act," Yoshihide Suga, a Japanese government spokesman, said at a press conference in Tokyo.
The United States said it was working to confirm the authenticity of the latest video, and that it "strongly condemns" the jihadist group's actions.
IS has previously said it would release the 47-year-old Japanese journalist if Jordan freed imprisoned Iraqi suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi. Jordan, in return, has demanded the release of a Jordanian pilot who is currently in IS custody.
Goto's capture in October last year prompted international condemnation. The freelance journalist went to Syria to negotiate the release of his friend and fellow journalist, Haruna Yukawa, who was captured by IS jihadists last summer and was killed last week.
shs/cmk (Reuters, AFP)