Journalist Jumpei Yasuda captured in Syria 3 years ago freed: Japanese govt

A 2015 photo showing Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda shortly before his entry into Syria.
A 2015 photo showing Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda shortly before his entry into Syria.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - A man believed to be a Japanese freelance journalist who was captured three years ago in Syria has been freed, a Japanese government spokesman said on Tuesday (Oct 23).

“We received information from Qatar that Mr Jumpei Yasuda had been released,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

“We were informed that he is in an immigration facility in Antakya (in Turkey).”

Mr Suga said the government was making checks to confirm that the man was in fact Mr Yasuda.

But he said that in light of the available information, that was highly likely, adding that Mr Yasuda’s wife had been notified.

Japanese media reported that Mr Yasuda, 44, had been captured by an Al-Qaeda affiliate after entering Syria from Turkey in 2015.

Since then, he has appeared occasionally in online videos looking increasingly unkempt and with greying hair.