Shoichi Yukawa, center, father of Haruna Yukawa, one of two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State group, speaks during an interview at his house in Chiba, near Tokyo Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Japanese officials are working to verifying a new message purported to be from the Islamic State group holding the hostages. The Associated Press could not verify the contents of the message, which varied greatly from previous videos released by the Islamic State group, which now holds a third of both Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Asahi Shimbun, Yasuhiro Sugimoto, Pool)
(The Associated Press)
TOKYO – The father of the Japanese hostage purportedly killed by Islamic State militants says he's hoping deep in his heart that the news is not true.
Shoichi Yukawa says he's praying his son Haruna is alive and that he wants to hug him.
He told Japanese media Sunday he could barely stay calm after a new video released late Saturday purported to show his son had been killed. The video message also demanded a prisoner exchange for the other Japanese hostage.
Japan's prime minister said early Sunday that the latest video was likely authentic.