Japan PM Abe ‘relieved’ at hostage’s release but wants to confirm identity

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that he was “relieved” that a Japanese hostage believed to have been captured in Syria three years ago had been released, but added that the government still needed to confirm the man’s identity.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends the ASEM leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Late on Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo had received information that a man believed to be Jumpei Yasuda, a freelance journalist, had been released. He said the government had notified Yasuda’s wife, but still needed to confirm his identity.

Speaking to reporters, Abe also thanked Qatar and Turkey for their cooperation in the hostage’s release.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim

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