Buddhist monks and other religious group members hold banners and placards to voice their demand about the release of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto taken by the Islamic State, during a rally outside the Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. A Japanese envoy in Jordan expressed hope that both a Japanese hostage and a Jordanian pilot held by Islamic militants will return home “with a smile on their faces,” as criticisms mounted Tuesday over the government’s handling of the crisis. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) (The Associated Press)
TOKYO – The Mideast is half a world away from Japan, and its troubles often seem so too. So Japan was shocked by a stark video from Islamic militants last week threatening to kill two Japanese hostages.