“Please, help me. That is my last chance. Jumpei Yasuda” – reads the poster handheld by Jumpei Yasuda, the Japanese reporter who was kidnapped last year in Syria. In the photo published on Facebook, the journalist is wearing an orange jersey, like Guantanamo prisoners. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has confirmed that the man in the picture may be Yasuda, but the government is “still analyzing it.”
It is not clear where the photo was taken, but it was posted after Yasuda’s photos had appeared on his birthday in March. The photos were published online by Tarik Abdul Hak, who said he received them from a group called al Noor, “appointed by al Nusra Front (an al Qaeda-related group) to mediate for his release.”
According to information gathered by Reporters Without Borders, Yasuda was seized immediately after entering Syria, in early July, while he was in an area controlled by al Nusra Front, a jihadist group connected to al Qaeda. The journalist wanted to narrate the situation in the conflict-stricken country and events related to Isis’ presence there. The latter is responsible for the death of his colleague and friend Kenji Goto, who had been slaughtered in January.
This month, three Spanish journalists who were held hostage by al Nusra Front, have been set free. They shared a period of captivity with Yasuda, according to the Spanish news agency Europa Press. Yet, the latter did not cite any sources.