Slain Japanese Hostage Kenji Goto's Wife Remains 'Extremely Proud' Of Her Christian Journalist Husband

( [email protected] ) Feb 02, 2015 04:52 PM EST
Kenji Goto Executed by ISIS
Kenji Goto kneels in this video that purportedly showed his execution by ISIS.

The wife of slain Japanese Christian hostage Kenji Goto said Monday that she was devastated but proud of her husband, who was beheaded by Islamic State of Levant (ISIL) extremists.

In a statement issued through the British-based journalist group Rory Peck Trust, Rinko Jogo requested privacy for her family as they deal with their loss, and thanked those who had supported them.

"I remain extremely proud of my husband, who reported the plight of people in conflict areas like Iraq, Somalia and Syria," she said. 

"It was his passion to highlight the effects on ordinary people, especially through the eyes of children, and to inform the rest of us of the tragedies of war," she said.

"He was not just my loving husband and father to our two beautiful children, but a son, brother and friend to many around the world," she said.   

This Sunday morning, ISIS released a video that purportedly showed the beheading of the second Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, who was a veteran freelance reporter and a devout Christian.

The news of Goto's killing by the militants send Japan into shock and mourning early Sunday morning, as many had hoped for his release especially after the Jordanian government has agreed to ISIL's demand to exchange a female suicide bombing prisoner on death row for the Jordanian pilot and Goto.

Junko Ishido
Junko Ishido, mother of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, speaks during a press conference at her home in Tokyo, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015 after the release of an online video that purported to show an Islamic State group militant beheading her son. AP Photo/Kyodo News

According to NHK, Goto's mother Junko Ishido said she was speechless at his death, saying he had gone to Syria out of "kindness and courage."

In an earlier emotional appeal, Ishido said, "Kenji left for the IS with a gentle heart hoping to save a life of his Japanese colleague. He didn't care about his safety because he believed he and people of IS would be able to understand each other, as members of the global community."

According to Goto's wife Rinko Jogo and others who had spoken with him, Goto had gone to Syria late last year to try to save the other Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, 42, a military contractor, who was shown killed in a video released earlier.

Goto's wife also made an appeal, expressing her hope that her youngest daughter who was recently born would be able to see her father and grow up with him.

Despite the pleas of Goto's loved ones and the Japanese government's attempts of negotiations, ISIL showed no humanity in reply.

According to Japan's National Broadcasting Network (NHK), the video was released on Feb. 1 shortly after 5:00 a.m. Japan time. 

The video opened with the title in English, "A Message To the Government of Japan." Goto is shown wearing an orange jumpsuit and kneeling among barren hills, and standing beside him is 'Jihadi John' with a knife in the same black outfit, who apparently committed the beheadings of American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff last year. 

"Kenji has left us on a journey," said Junko Ishido, 78, Goto's distraught mother. "It is my only hope that we can carry on with Kenji's mission to save the children from war and poverty."

"I was hoping Kenji would come back alive," his brother Junichi told Japanese broadcaster NHK TV.

Goto had been captured at least once before by militants in the Middle East, but had convinced them to let him go by showing that he was a reporter.

Goto went to Syria just three weeks after his youngest daughter was born. Before his last trip, he made a video recording, according to Associated Press. 

"No matter what happens to me, I will always love the people of Syria," he said calmly, looking straight into the camera.