TOKYO (AP) — Junko Ishido shook and struggled to hold back tears as she talked about her hostage son, while camera shutters whirred.
"Time is running out. Please, Japanese government, save my son's life," she said Friday to a packed room of journalists, at times wiping her tears with a white handkerchief. In Japanese fashion, she apologized repeatedly for "all the trouble" her son, Kenji Goto, was causing the country and its people by being a hostage of the Islamic State group.
In a somewhat rambling message, Ishido said: "My son is not the enemy of the Islamic State. He went over there all by himself, simply hoping to rescue his friend."
Ishido, 78, said she felt angry that her son had left for Syria just two weeks after his wife delivered a baby in search of the friend, Haruna Yukawa, but given his character, she understood why.
The two Japanese men are captives of the Islamic State group, threatened with death unless their government pays a $200 million ransom.
"Even before he could walk, even when he was just tottering on his feet, whenever he could be with other children, he would always show great kindness to them," she said. "So I believe he always cared about other people."