The Latest: Turkish official: Security unit saved Japan man

Men walk past a TV screen showing a news program with an image of Japanese freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 in Tokyo. A man believed to be Yasuda who disappeared three years ago in Syria has been released and is now in Turkey, a Japanese official said. Japanese characters at top right read: "Jumpei Yasuda was released." (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on a Japanese freelance journalist freed from Syria (all times local):

10:15 p.m.

The governor of Turkey’s southern Hatay province says a Japanese journalist was rescued as a result of efforts by Turkish intelligence and security units.

Japan confirmed Wednesday the man freed from Syria is Jumpei Yasuda, a Japanese freelance journalist kidnapped in 2015, and that he is in good health.

Governor Erdal Ata said Yasuda had no identification with him when he was brought from Syria, which he had entered illegally.

Ata said Yasuda will be handed over to Japanese officials as soon as necessary procedures on the Turkish side are completed.

___

9 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the government will help arrange an early return home for a Japanese freelance journalist who was freed after more than three years of captivity in Syria.

Jumpei Yasuda was released Tuesday after being seized in 2015 by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria.

Abe said Yasuda chatted with Japanese Embassy staff and appeared in good health.

He said Japan’s government will assist him with necessary support so he can return home as soon as possible.

Abe said he thanked Qatar and Turkish leaders for their help in gaining Yasuda’s release.

___

8:15 p.m.

The wife of a Japanese freelance journalist who was freed after being kidnapped more than three years ago in Syria says she wants to tell him welcome home and praise him for surviving.

Jumpei Yasuda, who was seized in 2015 by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, was released Tuesday.

His wife, a singer who goes by the name Myu, was on a live TV talk show and shed tears of happiness when she heard Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono confirm that Yasuda was safe.

She thanked those who prayed for him and helped in his release.

Myu said Yasuda, as journalist, will want to report his experience to the Japanese people.

Japanese officials confirmed he is in Turkey and in good health.

___

7:15 p.m.

A Japanese freelance journalist who was kidnapped three years ago in Syria says he is well and safe in Turkey.

Jumpei Yasuda spoke in brief videotaped comments in English carried online Wednesday by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

He said he was safe in Turkey after being held for 40 months.

Yasuda has been at an immigration center in southern Turkey near the border with Syria since he was freed Tuesday.

He was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria.

___

6:30 p.m.

Japan has confirmed that a man freed from Syria is a Japanese freelance journalist who was kidnapped three years ago and says he appears to be in good health.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono said Japanese Embassy officials met with Jumpei Yasuda at an immigration center in southern Turkey near the border with Syria, where Yasuda has been protected since he was freed Tuesday.

Yasuda was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, and has been held by several groups since then.

Suga said no ransom was paid for Yasuda’s release.

___

4 p.m.

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

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters he was relieved by the news and is anxious to get the man’s identify confirmed. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said the man is most likely Jumpei Yasuda and he is now in Turkey.

“I would like to get confirmation that he is Mr. Yasuda himself as quickly as possible,” Abe said.

Yasuda was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, known at the time as Nusra Front, after his contact was lost in June that year. 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.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



Advertiser Content