Their abductors have threatened to “burn them alive” if Japan does not pull its troops out by a Sunday deadline.
Ichiro Aisawa, senior vice foreign minister, told reporters no effort would be spared by Tokyo to free the hostages, who were snatched by a previously unknown Iraqi group.
Japan was stunned on Thursday when the Iraqi group released a video showing the hostages, blindfolded and with a gun to their heads.
The three hostages are aidworker Nahoko Takato, 34, freelance reporter Soichiro Koriyama, 32, and Noriaki Imai, 18, who had planned to look into the effects of depleted uranium weapons. Their whereabouts is unclear.