Japanese Journalist Yasuda Likely to Have Been Freed

Politics Society

Tokyo, Oct. 23 (Jiji Press)--Japanese freelance journalist Junpei Yasuda, who was believed to have been held by Islamic extremists in 2015, is now likely to have been freed, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday night, citing information given to Japan by the Qatari government.

"Judging from the information, the freed man is highly likely to be Yasuda," the top Japanese government spokesman told a hastily arranged press conference. The government has informed Yasuda's wife about this, Suga added.

According to Suga, Tokyo was informed by the Qatari government around 7:40 p.m. Tuesday Japan time (10:40 a.m. GMT) that Yasuda, 44, would be released within the day.

Around 9 p.m., Japan received information that Yasuda was freed and is in protective custody at an immigration facility in Antakya in southern Turkey, near the border with Syria, according to Suga.

The Japanese government sent staff to Antakya to confirm whether the freed man is Yasuda. The identification process is expected to take "a certain amount of time," Suga said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press