News

August 1, 2018

Syria: RSF calls on Japan and the international community to save Japanese journalist held hostage

Japanese journalist, Jumpei Yasuda, held hostage in Syria for three years, reappeared yesterday in a third video dated July 25. RSF calls on Japan and the international community to save him.

A third video of Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda, 44, who was kidnapped in Syria three years ago, was posted yesterday on the video platform Vimeo, along with a similar video showing an Italian businessman also taken hostage by the same group. In these 20-second videos, the hostages are dressed in orange jumpsuits and surrounded by two armed and hooded men; they call for help and seem to fear for their life.


“This scene is reminiscent of images broadcasted by the kidnappers of journalists Daniel Pearl, assassinated in 2002 in Pakistan, and Steven Sotloff and James Foley, both assassinated in 2014 in Syria,” said Cédric Alviani, director of the East Asia office of Reporters Without Borders (RSF). "RSF calls on the Japanese authorities and the international community to act immediately for the release of Jumpei Yasuda."


Last month, Nippon News Network and Japanese telecommunications operator Nifty reported on two previous videos suggesting that the journalist was still alive. Jumpei Yasuda was kidnapped in 2015 by an armed Islamist group while he was investigating the death of journalist Kenji Goto, who was taken hostage and beheaded by the Islamic State group.


In addition to ranking 177th out of 180 in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index, Syria is the most dangerous country in the world for journalists.