Japan says seeking information after reports Japanese journalist held hostage in Syria

Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, speaks during an interview in Tokyo.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, speaks during an interview in Tokyo. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

TOKYO (REUTERS) - The Japanese government is seeking information after reports a Japanese freelance journalist is being held hostage in Syria and has been threatened with execution, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday (Dec 24).

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said this week that, according to information it had received, an armed group holding journalist Yasuda Jumpei hostage had started a countdown for an unspecified ransom to be paid and had threatened to execute or sell him to another group if their demands were not met.

RSF said in a statement on its website that Yasuda was kidnapped in July by an armed group in an area controlled by the militant Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syria wing, shortly after entering Syria earlier that month.

Suga spoke in response to a question about the RSF statement at a news conference.