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Video Purports to Show Japanese Man, Jumpei Yasuda, Who Is Missing in Syria

A video appearing to show a missing Japanese journalist believed to have disappeared in Syria in June 2015 was posted online Wednesday.

A bearded man sitting in front of a desk speaks into the camera: "Hello, I am Jumpei Yasuda and today is my birthday, 16 March."

Image: Kyodo handout photo of Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda
Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda. KYODO / Reuters

Public broadcaster NHK reported that the activist who posted the video claimed Yasuda is being held by Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate.

The activist told NHK that he obtained the video from someone trying to mediate for the release of Yasuda, 42. The Japanese government said it is gathering more information.

"We believe that the man is indeed Mr. Yasuda," Japanese government spokesman Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press briefing Thursday.

Citing the sensitivity of the situation, Suga refrained from providing any further details, however he added "in order to secure the safety of our citizen we are working on this by collating a wide range of information"

Rumors surrounding Yasuda's fate have surfaced and disappeared. His last tweet was on June 20.

In December, Reporters Without Borders said that he'd reportedly been detained by an armed group affiliated with Nusra Front.

Reporters Without Borders later retracted the information.

In the video posted Wednesday, the man appearing to be Yasuda does not name his captors or mention any demands. "They told me that I can speak what I want freely," the man says in the video.

"I love you, my wife, father, mother, brother. I always think about you. I want to hug you. I want to talk with you but I can't anymore."

Two Japanese citizens were executed by the terror group ISIS after being captured in Syria. The group released videos in January of 2015 announcing that it killed journalist Kenji Goto and his friend, Haruna Yukawa, after a $200 million ransom deadline had passed.

Since then, the Japanese government has strongly urged journalists against traveling to Syria.