ISIS Japan
The Islamic State group has released a video featuring two Japanese hostages.Al-Hayat Media

The Japanese police have dispatched a 30-member rapid response team to Jordan to negotiate and win the freedom of two Japanese nationals being held by Islamic State (formerly Isis) militants in Syria.

According to a report by Kyodo news agency, the Japanese team will be located at the Japanese Embassy in Amman and will collect information about the hostages being held captive by the extremists, who have demanded a ransom of $200m (£131m) for their release.

In a video released on Tuesday, British extremist 'Jihadi John' warned Tokyo that if their ransom demand is not met within 72 hours, the two men will be executed.

The hostages have been identified as Haruna Yukawa, founder of a private security firm, and Kenji Goto, a freelance journalist.

Reports suggest that Japan's foreign minister Yasuhide Nakayama, who is in Amman, has hinted that local religious leaders could be asked to intervene on behalf of the hostages and secure their release.

He is in contact with regional leaders who might be able to help resolve the crisis without bloodshed, the Telegraph reported.

Last week, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had announced in Cairo that the country would provide grants worth $2.5bn to countries in the region, out of which $200m will be spent to step up international efforts against the Islamic State, including extending support to refugees from Iraq and Syria.