Jumpei Yasuda, a 44 year old freelance journalist is believed to have been released after being kidnapped in Syria three years ago.
Jumpei was seized in Syria in June 2015 and hasn’t appeared in a video released by a militant group and warned that he was in a grave situation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a late-night press conference the government was trying to verify information from Qatari authorities but it was “highly likely” Yasuda had finally been freed.
There was a similar video released in August where a jihadist group
“The Qatar government informed us that Jumpei Yasuda has been freed and is now at the immigration centre in Antakya” in Turkey, Mr Suga said.
“We’re now verifying the information… but it’s highly likely it is Jumpei Yasuda himself,” he added.
In the video released by the jihadist group, the Japanese journalist and Italian national Alessandro Sandrini were wearing orange outfits and had armed men with masks standing behind them. The men were not identifiable and there is speculation as to which group was holding the men as there were no demands made via the video or later. Syrian groups are often shifting hence the journalists were believed to be seized by the Al-Nusra Front, a former Al-Qaeda affiliate, in northern Syria.
According to reports :
“ In the video, Yasuda identified himself as Korean and gave a different name, but spoke in Japanese.
He gave the recording date as July 25, saying he was in a bad situation and asking for help.
His wife said she had no idea why Mr Yasuda had identified himself as Korean in the video, but confirmed it showed him and that he is Japanese.”
In 2015 militants from the Islamic State group beheaded Japanese war correspondent Kenji Goto and his friend Haruna Yukawa in Syria.
The Japanese government was criticised for losing war correspondent Kenji Koto and Haruna Yukawa and hoped that they wouldn’t miss the opportunity to step in and save their citizens.