Daily Management Review

Japanese Journalist Reportedly Held Hostage in Syria, Japanese Government Seeking Information


Japanese Journalist Reportedly Held Hostage in Syria, Japanese Government Seeking Information
There has been hectic information seeking by the Japanese government following reports that a Japanese freelance journalist is being held hostage in Syria and has been threatened with execution.
Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary informed of this on Thursday.
A countdown has been started for an unspecified ransom to be paid by an armed group holding journalist Yasuda Jumpei hostage, said the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) based on information that it had received. The group is also said to have threatened to execute or sell him to another group if their demands were not met.
In a statement, RSF said on its website that shortly after entering Syria earlier in July, Yasuda was kidnapped by an armed group of men. He was reportedly taken hostage from an area that is controlled by the militant Nusra Front, al Qaeda's Syria wing.
It urged the Japanese government to do what was needed to save Yasuda.
While the Japanese government was not aware of any fresh developments, it however knew of the case, Suga said.
"Given the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on details," he told a regular news conference.

"The safety of our citizens is an important responsibility of the government, so we are making every effort and making full use of various information networks," Suga said.
Two Japanese nationals - a self-styled security consultant and a veteran war reporter were beheaded earlier this year by the Islamic State militant group. Despite the gruesome incidents getting the attention of the government of Japan, the government had said at that time that it would not negotiate with the militants for their release.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's defense policy shift to allow the military to fight abroad for the first time since 1945 could be used by militants as an excuse to attack Japan, Seiko Noda, a senior ruling party lawmaker, told the media earlier this week.
Noda is hoping to become Japan's first female prime minister after Abe's term expires.
Based on the Abe administration's reinterpretation of the constitution, the laws that were enacted in September will allow Japanese forces to help friendly countries, such as the United States, under attack.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International said on Wednesday that Russia's bombing of Syria has killed many civilians and may amount to a war crime.
The international group also presented what it said was evidence that Moscow's actions had violated humanitarian law.
"Russian air strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians and caused massive destruction in residential areas, striking homes, a mosque and a busy market, as well as medical facilities, in...attacks that show evidence of violations of international humanitarian law," Amnesty said in a report.
The London-based rights group's report was full of "cliches and lies", said Russia's Defence Ministry while strongly rejected the allegations.
In what Russia termed as its attempt to help the Kremlin's main Middle East ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, defeat Islamic State and other militant groups, the Kremlin began its campaign of air strikes against militants in Syria on Sept. 30.

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