(From AFP)

Footage has emerged of a Japanese journalist who went missing in Syria apparently asking for Tokyo’s help in securing his release.

Jumpei Yasuda

The Japanese government said Thursday it was studying the video of Jumpei Yasuda, who has not been heard from since the middle of last year.

The footage was posted online by a Syrian man who lives in Turkey, who said Yasuda had been taken hostage by the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front rebel group in Syria, NHK and the Asahi Shimbun daily reported.

They cited telephone conversations with the man, though they did not identify him.

Broadcaster Nippon TV also said it spoke by phone with a person it described as a negotiator for the group, and that it is seeking a ransom.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, said that he was “not aware” of any ransom demand.

Speculation has swirled around Yasuda since reports first emerged that he may have been captured in Syria.

“We are aware of the video and are analysing it,” Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Thursday. Read More

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