Japan and other nations condemned with outrage and horror on Sunday the beheading purportedly by the Islamic State group of Kenji Goto, a journalist who sought through his coverage of Syria to convey the plight of refugees, children and other victims of war.
A Japanese effort to rescue Goto was possible in theory, although planning such a raid takes time that Japan did not have.
How will Japan react? Will the death of two of their people (Haruna Yukawa was killed earlier) in such a cruel manner motivate Japan to retaliate even if they cannot conduct a rescue?
UPDATE: The reaction is certainly different:
When Islamic State militants posted a video over the weekend showing the grisly killing of a Japanese journalist, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacted with outrage, promising “to make the terrorists pay the price.” ...
“This is 9/11 for Japan,” said Kunihiko Miyake, a former high-ranking Japanese diplomat who has advised Mr. Abe on foreign affairs. “It is time for Japan to stop daydreaming that its good will and noble intentions would be enough to shield it from the dangerous world out there. Americans have faced this harsh reality, the French have faced it, and now we are, too.”
The crisis also comes at a crucial moment in Japan’s modern history. Since taking office two years ago, Mr. Abe, a strong-willed conservative, has tried to push his nation into shedding the passive brand of pacifism that it repentantly embraced after defeat in World War II, and playing a more active role in world events. Analysts and former diplomats say the stark savagery of the killings will be an important test of how ready Japan really is to step onto the global stage.
But will this new reaction remain long enough to change policy? Or will it be back to business as usual and hoping that the jihadis will leave them alone?