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Japanese PM condemns 'outrageous' killing of Jordanian pilot

By Reuters | February 4th 2015

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday he was deeply angry over the "outrageous" killing of a Jordanian pilot, who was apparently burnt to death by Islamic State militants, and repeated Japan's resolve not to give in to terrorism.

The militants released a video on Tuesday appearing to show the captured Jordanian pilot being burnt alive in a cage.

"I feel an intense sense of anger and outrage upon hearing that the Jordanian pilot Mouath al-Kasaesbeh was horrifically burned to death," Abe said in parliament.

"This is an outrageous act of violence and I strongly, adamantly condemn it."

Japan is in mourning for two of its citizens killed by the militants over recent days.

The militants said on Sunday they had beheaded Japanese journalist Kenji Goto after the failure of international efforts, in cooperation with Jordan, to secure his release through a prisoner swap.

They had killed another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, a week earlier.

Abe said he sympathized with Jordan and expressed his solidarity with its government and people. He said he would increase Japan's humanitarian support to the region.

"Japan will not bow to terrorism. I am resolved to fulfill my commitments to fight terrorism by working with the international community and expanding humanitarian aid," he said.

The killings have fanned calls for Japan's long-constrained military to be allowed to conduct overseas rescue missions as part of Abe's push for a more muscular security posture.

Even some advocates of legal changes to make rescues possible, however, say Japan's military faces big hurdles to acquiring the capacity to conduct such missions, while critics say sending troops overseas would just increase the risk.

Abe defended a speech he made last month in Cairo, when he offered $200 million in non-military aid for countries opposing Islamic State, against criticism that such a public pledge of support was not conducive to the rescue of the hostages.

"Countries all over the world are striving not to give in to terrorism and to remove terrorists' threats," Abe said. "Leaving countries hosting many refugees in an isolated and tough situation is like giving ISIL what they want."

Abe also rejected criticism that his more proactive security and diplomatic policies put Japanese lives at greater risk.

"We need to secure the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as of the world, to defend our country's peace and security," he said.

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