Japanese reporter dies in car accident at Syrian border
AKÇAKALE – Doğan News Agency / Anadolu Agency
Takaya (L), who had reportedly been living in Turkey for the past 22 years, was employed by Japan’s Fuji TV as a translator.A Japanese journalist who was reporting on a possible prisoner swap involving the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has died in Akçakale along Turkey’s border with Syria following a car accident.
Kazumi Takaya, 47, and driver Kasım Polat were killed after they struck a truck from behind. Polat was killed instantly in the crash, while Takaya succumbed to her injuries later in hospital.
The driver of the truck, İbrahim Halil Şikak, sustained minor injuries in the accident.
Takaya, who had reportedly been living in Turkey for the past 22 years, was employed by Japan’s Fuji TV as a translator. She had been sent to the border to cover the possible release of fellow Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who is currently being held by ISIL. The jihadist group had given the Jordanian government until sundown on Jan. 29 to hand over Sajida al-Rishawi, a failed Iraqi woman suicide bomber who is in prison in Jordan, in exchange for the release of Goto as part of a complex deal to keep alive Muath al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot that was captured by ISIL in December 2014.
Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan has conveyed his condolonces in Japanese on Twitter.
A Japanese companion of Goto, Haruna Yukawa, was executed by ISIL earlier this week after Japan refused to pay the group a $200 million ransom for the two hostages.
A number of Japanese journalists have been waiting at the Akçakale Border Gate in the expectation that Goto will be released at the entry point to Turkey.
In October 2014, another foreign journalist, Press TV’s Lebanese-American reporter Serena Shim, was killed in a car accident in Suruç, near the border with the northern Syrian town of Kobane. Before her death, Shim had expressed fears that she would be arrested by Turkish intelligence after alleging that aid convoys from Turkey to Syria were carrying jihadist militants.