Abe Gets Thrust Into Hostage Crisis, Pushing Japan Into International Spotlight 

January 21, 2015 1:48 AM

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A video showing an Islamic State militant threatening to execute two Japanese men has thrust Prime Minister Shinzo Abe into a hostage crisis just as he seeks to bolster the country’s profile in global security and diplomacy.

The video emerged as Abe toured the Middle East promoting a greater contribution to efforts to contain militancy, pledging $200 million in non-military aid to countries fighting Islamic State. Last year he reinterpreted the country’s almost seven-decade old pacifist constitution to permit Japan to c...

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