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New Photo Shows Japanese Journalist Held Hostage After Missing in Syria

  • VOA News

FILE - Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda, before Yasuda's departure to Syria.

FILE - Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda, before Yasuda's departure to Syria.

A photograph showing a Japanese journalist who has been missing in Syria nearly a year was posted on the internet Sunday, with the man holding a sign that reads in part "this is my last chance."

Jumpei Yasuda is believed to have been captured by the al-Qaida affiliate Nusra Front after he crossed into Syria from Turkey last June, Japanese media reported.

In the undated photograph, Yasuda, 42, has long hair and a beard and is dressed in orange. The sign he is holding reads, "Please help. This is the last chance."

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the photograph is being analyzed, but asserted the man shown in the image is likely Yasuda.

Chief Cabinet Spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters the government was doing what it could to free Yasuda, although he gave no details about official efforts.

Yasuda, a freelance journalist, was held hostage in Baghdad in 2004. The Japanese government negotiated his freedom then as well.

Last year, the Islamic State group beheaded two Japanese nationals: freelance journalist Kenji Goto and his friend, Haruna Yukawa, the founder of a private security firm.

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