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Japanese journalist released from 3-year imprisonment in Syria



TOKYO – Jumpei Yasuda, a Japanese freelance journalist missing in Syria in 2015, was released by Japanese officials on Tuesday.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan's senior cabinet secretary, said Qatari officials have reported this. Mr. Yasuda had been released and was in a Turkish immigration office in Antakya. Japanese officials confirmed his safety on Wednesday.

"We hear his health looks good at first glance," said Taro Kono, Japan's Foreign Minister, on Wednesday afternoon by Mr. Yasuda. "After the doctor é confirmed his health, we want him to come home as soon as possible."

Mr. Yasuda, 44, was believed to be a hostage to the Nusra Front, which now calls itself Haydan Tahrir al-Sham, a group known for arresting foreigners for ransom.

Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said of NHK, a Japanese broadcaster, that he was "relieved to hear the news of Mr. Yasuda's dismissal"

Mr. Suga told reporters that Japan had not paid a ransom or negotiated directly with the militant group.

"The Japanese Government made every effort to call for cooperation with affected countries such as Qatar and Turkey, as well as to use various information networks," he said.

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A photo of the freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda published in 2016. The handwritten note reads, "Please help, this is your last chance." Jiji Press / Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Hay & # 39; s Tahrir al-Sham declared his affiliation in 2013 Al Qaeda, but says it is no longer connected. The US State Department declared it a terrorist group in 2012 and renewed it this year.


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