Why is ISIS Extorting Japan for Exactly $200 Million?

ISIS released a new video warning that it will kill two more hostages, both Japanese nationals, unless Japan pays them $200 million dollars within 72 hours.

The video shows the two hostages in orange jumpsuits which has become something of a trade mark for ISIS prisoners.

Why is ISIS asking for exactly 200 million?

The sum of $200 million that ISIS is demanding is not an arbitrary sum. It is the exact amount that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe  promised in non-military aid to countries in the Middle East who are fighting ISIS. It seems that ISIS has ironically turned that amount around as a ransom.

The video released via the internet with the familiar desert setting threatens beheading. The ISIS member in the video is a man who has been dubbed ‘Jihad John’ allegedly a British Caucasian who was made infamous for beheading American journalist James Foley.

The threat of death is not a new tactic for ISIS, as they have used it several times both successfully and unsuccessfully to garner ransoms from different countries. If Japan does not pay it is likely that ISIS will make good on their threat, as they did with Foley.

There is speculation that Japan may try and negotiate down the cost with ISIS and pay them, though many countries warn strongly against paying ISIS any ransoms.

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