200 million dollars, that’s what the Islamic State is demanding for the return of photojournalist Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, two Japanese hostages that the Japanese government says are of the highest priority.
There is only one problem with this, a ransom of 200 million dollars, nearly a quarter of a BILLION dollars, has never been paid by any government for the return of anyone, ever. It’s an insane and astronomical number that sounds more like trolling than it does a legitimate attempt to make a deal.
What’s more, there is simply no way that Japan can pay it in good conscience. A ransom payment of 200 million would essentially mean that Japan was paying the Islamic State enough money to expand its military to that of a small nation. Paying the ransom would essentially mean that Japan was trading two Japanese lives for possibly thousands of non-Japanese ones. It would unconscionable.
Also, Haruna Yukawa was apparently in Syria to set up a private security company. Here’s a video of him shooting an AK-47 before he was captured. According to the BBC he’s never even been in the military and is basically a tourist.
Haruna Yukawa is likely to garner even less sympathy. He has been described as a fantasist who went to Syria to set up a military security company despite having no military background. His website shows him riding with Syrian rebels, wearing combat fatigues and carrying an assault rifle. In a video of his kidnapping posted on a jihadist website he can be heard claiming to be “half a doctor half a journalist”.