Turkey confirms Japanese national freed in Syria is Jumpei Yasuda
“It has been determined by our state’s concerned units through consultations with Japanese authorities that the mentioned individual is Jumpei Yasuda, Japanese press member who had been kidnapped in Syria where he entered unlawfully in 2015,” Ata said.
Yasuda was found by a joint “work” of Turkish security and intelligence officers and no military operation took place, he added.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga had said late on Oct. 23 that a man freed from Syria was most likely Jumpei Yasuda.
The 44-year-old journalist had been captured by an al-Qaeda affiliate, known at the time as the al-Nusra Front, after entering Syria from Turkey in 2015, according to Japanese media.
Since then, he has occasionally appeared in online videos. A war monitoring group said he was most recently held by a Syrian commander with the Turkistan Islamic Party, which mostly comprises of militants from China in Syria.
It was not the first time Yasuda had been detained in the Middle East.
The journalist had been held in Baghdad in 2004 and had drawn criticism at home for drawing the government into negotiations for his release.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Oct. 24 he was relieved Yasuda had been released.
Abe thanked Qatar and Turkey for their cooperation in freeing the man.