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Japanese journalists in shock after Goto’s reported death

By Muath Freij - Feb 01,2015 - Last updated at Feb 01,2015

AMMAN — Japanese media representatives in Jordan on Sunday said their compatriots in Japan are deeply saddened by the killing of Kenji Goto at the hands of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

A female Japanese journalist, who has been in Jordan for the past few weeks to cover her country’s efforts to negotiate Goto’s release, said his death was hard for her to take since she had met him in Tokyo.

“I met him in Japan last March… [at] a symposium with UNICEF. That was the last time I saw him,” she told The Jordan Times outside the headquarters of Karak tribes in west Amman’s Dabouq neighbourhood. 

She said that some of her compatriots resent the fact that Goto, an independent  journalist, chose to go to Syria, where IS controls vast swathes of land.

“But overall, everyone is so sad about this fate of Goto,” added the journalist, who requested anonymity.

She said Japanese journalists have spent almost two weeks in Jordan trying to follow the latest updates regarding the two Japanese men held hostage by IS.

Besides Goto, IS also killed hostage Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old private security contractor, according to a recording released by the group last week.

The militants released a video on Saturday showing a hooded man standing over Goto with a knife held to his throat, followed by footage of a body with a head placed on it.

Over the past two weeks, Japanese media personnel spent almost the whole day outside their embassy in Amman trying to get any clue or details about the hostages, doing interviews and live shows in front of the premises. 

They have also been visiting the Karak diwan in the capital, interviewing family members of Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh, who is also being held by IS, and publishing the latest statements issued by the family. 

Another Japanese journalist, who also refused to give his name, said the news of Goto’s death had shaken him, noting that he is the same age as the slain journalist.

“Goto was a peaceful and good journalist, and he does not deserve what happened to him.” 

He said everyone — Jordanians, Japanese or Muslims — are against such senseless killing.

The reporter said no one knows the fate of the Jordanian pilot, but voiced hope that Kasasbeh will be back with his family soon. 

“As Jordanians wished for the safety of our hostages, we wish the same.”

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