From the Chicago Tribune:
The Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese hostages Tuesday unless they receive $200 million in 72 hours, directly demanding the ransom from Japan's premier during his visit to the Middle East. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to save the men, saying: "Their lives are the top priority."
Abe and other Japanese officials declined to discuss whether they'd pay the ransom for captives Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, though their armed forces generally only operate in a self-defense capacity at home. Their kidnapping also immediately recalled the 2004 beheading of a Japanese backpacker in Iraq, carried out by the Islamic State group's predecessor over Japan's involvement in the U.S.-led war there.