A Japanese journalist freed from Syria this week arrived Tokyo to overjoyed relatives and supporters. Jumpei Yasuda was kidnapped in Syria in 2015, and spent more than three years in conditions he described as hell.
Yasuda has faced criticism for venturing to Syria, a country where several Japanese citizens were kidnapped and eventually executed.
Compounding the antagonism is the fact that Yasuda was kidnapped once before, in Iraq in 2004, prompting some to describe him as a “professional hostage.”
A string of kidnappings of journalists in Syria at the height of the country’s war exposed differences in how governments and public responded.
Some governments paid ransoms, while others refused, and while countries celebrated their journalists as heroes, others quietly criticised them for taking unnecessary risks.