TOKYO - Japan is looking into reports that a Japanese man has been captured by Islamist militants in Syria, but is not aware of any statement claiming responsibility or making a ransom demand, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday. "We are aware of such reports, and have set up a local task force in Jordan," a Foreign Ministry official said, but declined to comment on details.
A video clip posted on YouTube shows a man lying on the ground being questioned by unidentified persons and responding that he is Japanese and that his name is Haruna Yukawa.
The name is the same as that of a chief executive of a self-described private mercenary and security firm. No one answered the telephone at the Tokyo-based company.
In the video clip, the authenticity of which could not be independently verified, the man can be heard being asked in English, "Why do you have a gun?" But his answer is inaudible.
A Facebook posting by the head of the Japanese security firm on July 11 shows him test firing an assault rifle in what he says is Aleppo, Syria. His Facebook page also shows pictures purporting to be from the Iraqi border. In a series of pictures, he poses in an armoured vehicle and complains of the heat.