A TV news program reports two Japanese hostages held by the Islamic State group in Tokyo, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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Japan promised Saturday not to give up "until the very end" on efforts to rescue two Japanese hostages threatened with beheading by Islamic militants demanding a $200 million ransom, after a deadline passed with no word from the captors.Top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga was asked about Friday's message and said Japan was analyzing it."The situation remains severe, but we are doing everything we can to win the release of the two Japanese hostages," Suga said. He said Japan is using every channel it can find, including local tribal chiefs, to try to reach the captors. Suga said earlier the government had confirmed the identities of the two hostages despite discrepancies in shadows and other details in the ransom video that suggested it might have been altered.
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