The mother of a Japanese hostage held by Islamic State extremists has appealed publicly to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to save her son after his captors issued what they said was a final death threat.

Junko Ishido, mother of journalist Kenji Goto, read to reporters her plea to Abe to "Please save Kenji," which she said she sent earlier Wednesday.

She begged Abe to work with the Jordanian government to try to save Goto, saying "Kenji has only a little time left."