Japanese journalist freed from three years of captivity in Syria

A Japanese journalist who was captured by militants in Syria three years ago has been released, the Japanese...

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 12:26 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 12:26 PM

A Japanese journalist who was captured by militants in Syria three years ago has been released, the Japanese government confirmed on Wednesday.

Jumpei Yasuda, who was working as a freelance war reporter, has been missing since June 2015.

Asia

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Continents and regions

East Asia

Japan

Journalism and news media

Media industry

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Syria

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Hostage taking

Freedom of press

Human rights

International relations and national security

Japan's Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, told media in a brief interview that embassy staff in Turkey have confirmed the Yasuda's identity. Kono said the journalist appeared to be in relatively good health and that the government will help him return to Japan after a medical check.

On Tuesday, at around 11:00 p.m. local time, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Qatar had informed Tokyo of the development and that the man who is thought to be Yasuda was staying at an immigration facility in Antakya, Turkey.

"Please help me"

Several videos of a man believed to be Yasuda have emerged since he went missing.

In March 2016, a video was posted which appeared to show Yasuda as a hostage. Japanese media confirmed Yasuda's identity through his family, and while it had been reported that Yasuda was captured by terrorist organization al-Nusra Front after entering Syria, there is nothing in the video that definitely identifies any captors.

Yasuda, bearded and dressed in a sweater and black-and-white scarf, directly addressed the camera in English:

"Hello, I am Jumpei Yasuda and today is my birthday, 16 March. They told me that I can speak what I want freely. And I can send a message through this to anyone. I love you my wife, father, mother, brother. I always think about you. I want to hug you. I want to talk with you but I can't anymore. Just I can say: Please take care.

"My life, 42 years, all was good, especially since eight years, so happy. I have to say to something to my country: When you're sitting there, wherever you are, in a dark room, suffering with the pain, there's still no one. No one answering. No one responding. You're invisible. You are not exist. No one care about you."

While the video references the date March 16, CNN cannot confirm the date the video was recorded.

In May 2016, a photo also emerged of what appeared to be Yasuda on social media, holding up a sign that read, "Please help me," and "This is the last chance."

Journalist since 1997

Yasuda's Twitter account was last updated on June 21, 2015, with his last tweet referring to the challenges to his reporting, which had become "no laughing matter." He also said it would be difficult to continue making updates about his work on blogs and social media in real time.

According to his website, Yasuda has been a journalist since 1997, starting out in newspapers before going freelance in 2003 after a trip to Afghanistan.

He began reporting from Iraq, and had been held in custody several times.

After being held by a militia in Baghdad in April 2004, Yasuda was criticized by sections of the Japanese public for having gone into a conflict zone, and drawing the Japanese government into negotiations for his release.

However, he continued returning to conflict zones and had reported from Iraq and Syria on numerous occasions, according to his website.

A Japanese journalist, Kenji Goto, was executed by ISIS in a highly publicized killing in January 2015 after crossing into ISIS-controlled Syria to report. Goto, a fellow member of Japan's small community of freelance war reporters, was a friend of Yasuda's.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Columbus
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 66°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather