TOKYO — A Japanese freelance journalist who went missing in Syria three years ago and was held hostage is believed to have been freed, Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday evening.
Qatari officials notified the Japanese government on Tuesday evening in Japan that Jumpei Yasuda would be released, Suga said. An hour and a half later, they sent word that he had been freed and was at an immigration facility in Antakya, Turkey, next to the border with Syria.
“While we are currently in the process of identifying him thru Turkish authorities, considering all the various information available we believe with high probability that this might indeed be Jumpei Yasuda, and we have noticed his wife,” Suga said.
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The non-profit organization Reporters Without Borders posted on its website in December 2015 that Yasuda had allegedly been detained by an armed group affiliated with Nusra Front, but it later retracted the information.