Japan waits confirmation of identity of man freed from Syria


Japan is anxiously awaiting confirmation that a man freed from Syria is a freelance journalist kidnapped three years ago.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Wednesday he was relieved by the news and is anxious to get the man’s identify confirmed as soon as possible.

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Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said the man is most likely Jumpei Yasuda and he is now in Turkey.

Yasuda was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, known at the time as Nusra Front. A war monitoring group said he was most recently held by a Syrian commander with the Turkistan Islamic Party, which mostly comprises Chinese jihadis in Syria.

Suga said Japanese diplomats are to identify the man and check his health at a facility near Turkey’s border with Syria.