TOKYO (TR) – Nippon News Network on Friday revealed that it had obtained a video showing a person believed to be abducted journalist Junpei Yasuda, a development that comes three years after he disappeared.
“I am Junpei. I am fine,” the person believed to be Yasuda said in the video. “I am praying for the safety of my family. I just want to see my family. I hope to see you soon.”
The network did not reveal how it obtained the video, whose date of filming is October 17, 2017. In the clip, the man, who sports a gray beard, is seated in a chair and attired in a black t-shirt.
Yasuda went missing in July of 2015, shortly after secretly crossing into Syria from Turkey. He went into the country to report on issues such as the execution of freelance journalist Kenji Goto, who was killed after being captured by Islamic State militants that same year.
Al-Nusra Front, a Sunni Islamist militia aligned with al-Qaida, is believed to have captured Yasuda. Previous reports indicated that they are seeking a ransom.
In May of 2016, a photo that surfaced on social media showed a person, later confirmed by the Japanese government to be Yasuda, holding a sign that read: “Please help. This is the last chance.”
The following month, it was learned that the aforementioned image was obtained by a negotiator working for Yasuda’s release. However, the negotiator terminated their efforts. “We have been serving as the mediator but the Japanese government did not respond to the requests of the captors, and the mediation has failed,” the negotiator said.
The network speculates that the emergence of the video is an effort on the part of the captors to resume negotiations. “Please do not forget, and do not give,” the person also said in the video that surfaced on Friday.