Despite deaths, Japan govt 'not at fault' in ISIL hostage crisis

Despite deaths, Japan govt 'not at fault' in ISIL hostage crisis
An image grab taken off a video on January 20, 2015, reportedly released by the Islamic State (IS) group through Al-Furqan Media, one of the Jihadist platforms used by the militant organisation on the web, allegedly shows Japanese hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa (right).

A committee investigating the government's handling of the hostage crisis (see below) in which two Japanese were killed by extremist militants has concluded that "it cannot be said there was a mistake" in the government's efforts to have the men freed.

The report also said it was necessary to foster experts in information gathering and analysis, and to review restrictions on travel to dangerous areas to prevent similar incidents from occurring. The government plans to strengthen systems to protect Japanese nationals overseas based on the report, which was released Thursday.

The government's handling of the crisis came under fire from opposition parties following the killing of Haruna Yukawa, 42, and Kenji Goto, 47, by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group earlier this year.

The government established the committee in February, chaired by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita and including nine senior officials from the Cabinet Secretariat, the Foreign Ministry and other government bodies. The committee canvassed experts for their opinions on the matter.

The report divided the crisis into three phases based on chronological order:

1. From August 2014, when it was discovered that Yukawa was missing in Syria, through Dec. 3, when the government confirmed that the kidnappers had sent an e-mail to Goto's wife.

2. Through Jan. 20, when ISIL released video footage of the two Japanese.

3. The government's handling of the crisis after the video was released.

For each phase, the committee included in the report its points of discussion, its assessment and points raised by the experts.

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