Still shot of ISIS first video demanding ransom from Japanese officials. Kenji Goto, left, Haruna Yukawa, right. (Courtesy of

Still shot of ISIS first video demanding ransom from Japanese officials. (Courtesy of

 By: Samuel McLaughlin, Contributing Writer

This last month has been a very tense and threatening time in Syria. Meanwhile, Jordan has found itself on the other side of a hostage crisis involving the terror extremist group ISIS, who had two Japanese citizens and a Jordanian pilot in captivity. The hostage crisis may be over, but at a great cost. All three hostages have been executed by the extremist group.

Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa of Japan were the first targets for ransom in this crisis. Kenji Goto had traveled  to Syria to see to the release of Haruna Yukawa, who was captured by ISIS last August. Yukawa had been taken hostage in August of last year while posing as a security consultant helping Japanese international business.

ISIS ordered for a $200 million demand from Japanese officials in return for the release of the two hostages. Japan was unable and unwilling to settle this offer by the allotted time set by ISIS militants. ISIS responded by killing Yukawa but leaving Goto alive for the time being. News of Yukawa’s death reached Japan a few weeks prior.

ISIS’s attention then turned from Japan to Jordan as they began to plot for the possibility of a prisoner exchange. Moaz al-Kassasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, was taken hostage after his plane went down during a mission against ISIS in December of 2014. They had demanded a prisoner exchange with Jordanian officials to release the failed Al-Qaeda suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi into ISIS hands in return for the release of al-Kassasbeh. Jordanian officials were reluctant to comply with this demand because they had no proof that al-Kassasbeh was alive. Still, ISIS’s clock was ticking and their demands were not being satisfied.

They executed Goto on Friday, January 30th. Goto’s wife, Rinko, describes her devastation of the loss of her husband in a personal statement that she released to the public on February 1st. She also expresses how proud she is of everything her husband had achieved in his lifetime. “While feeling a great personal loss, I remain extremely proud of my husband who reported the plight of people in conflict areas like Iraq, Somalia and Syria.
 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”. Rinko’s message has been received with great sympathy from around the world. She sent her thanks and requests the media to “respect our privacy and allow us time to come to terms with our loss”.

Rinko also mentions that her husband went missing on October 25th of 2014. She was made aware of this on December 2nd after receiving an email from the group claiming to have her husband in custody. Goto’s mother later released that he traveled to Syria to “help a fellow Japanese” she said referring to Haruna Yukawa, the other Japanese hostage.

It was later revealed to Jordanian officials that the Moaz al-Kassasbeh, shown in a video posted online, had been burned alive before the prisoner swap was demanded. This indicates that ISIS had no intention of holding up their end of the bargain from the start. Jordan responded to this by executing the prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi along with one other Al-Qaeda prisoner Ziyad al-Karbouli in Jordan. In addition, Jordanian fighter pilots launched a series of air strikes destroying several ISIS locations within the next day.