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Appalled and saddened by news of journalist Kenji Goto's purported beheading by Islamic State extremists, Japan ordered heightened security precautions Sunday and said it would persist with its non-military support for fighting terrorism.

Japan promised Saturday not to give up "until the very end" on efforts to free two Japanese hostages threatened with beheading by Islamic militants demanding a $200 million ransom, after a deadline passed with no word from the captors.

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The Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese hostages Tuesday unless they receive $200 million in 72 hours, directly demanding the ransom from Japan’s premier during his visit to the Middle East.