Japanese Journalist Ordered to Return Passport

Society Politics

Tokyo, Feb. 6 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Foreign Ministry has ordered freelance journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka to surrender his passport at an airport right before his departure to Yemen for covering the famine crippling the civil war-torn Middle East country, it was learned.

The ministry's action is expected to stir controversy as it could amount to restricting freedom of travel abroad, pundits said. The order was issued on Saturday. Tsuneoka has frequently visited the Middle East for news-gathering activities.

Tsuneoka had planned to interview U.N. World Food Program officials working in Yemen and Japanese staff members of Doctors Without Borders also active in the country, according to the 49-year-old Japanese journalist.

Tsuneoka was denied entry to Oman and deported when he tried to enter Yemen via the neighboring country last month. He has since been considering reaching Yemen using a different route.

On Saturday, Tsuneoka was slated to take a flight from Tokyo International Airport at Haneda to visit Yemen via Sudan. But he was unable to pass through the departure gate at the airport and was told by an airport staff official that an order for him to return his passport has been issued.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press