Japan confirms journalist held in Syria for 3 years released safely

Baku, October 24, AZERTAC

Japan confirmed Wednesday freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda has been released after more than three years of captivity in Syria and is now in Turkey, and will be coming home as soon as possible, Kyodo news agency reported.

"I have received a report that he is speaking normally to (Japanese) embassy officials," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

Japanese officials had been trying to verify whether a man who had arrived at an immigration facility in the southern Turkish city of Antakya near the border with Syria was indeed the 44-year-old journalist, after being informed of his release Tuesday night by Qatar.

Yasuda entered Syria from the southern Turkish province of Hatay in June 2015 to cover the civil war and then disappeared, apparently after being taken hostage by a militant group.

In a video clip released by the Hatay provincial government, where the immigration facility is located, Yasuda, with relatively short hair and a long beard, said in English that after being in Syria for 40 months "I Turkey. Now, I'm in a safe condition. Thank you very much."

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