Japan’s government is running out of time, writes Adam Pasick at Quartz:
A Friday deadline looms for demands made by the Islamic State, which says it will kill two Japanese hostages if it doesn’t receive a $200 million ransom payment. That’s the same amount of aid that prime minister Shinzo Abe pledged to countries that are battling ISIL during a Middle East tour last week.
The Japanese government hopes to prevent the execution, and is, according to a spokesman:
… trying to tell ISIL that its ransom demands were due to a “misunderstanding,” since the aid was designated for refugees and humanitarian programs, not to kill Muslims, as the group has claimed. “We are sending the message that, contrary to what the criminals are saying, we are absolutely not trying to kill people in the Muslim world.”