ISIS has apparently captured a Japanese men in Aleppo with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Although still unverified and as yet to appear in the mainstream media at time of writing, images and videos have emerged of the man being held prisoner in Syria by ISIS (IS) soldiers. The man appears disheveled and slightly bloodied, but apparently not seriously injured.

japanese photographer doctor captured prisoner isis syria aleppo haruna yukawa fighter

According to links and videos shared initially by Thoton News Japan and others, his Islamic State captors claim he wouldn’t be dressed like he is if he were a photographer. They also claim he has a gun and demand to know why.

The Japanese man answers he is half a doctor, half a photographer. He says he got the gun from a dead soldier.

japanese photographer doctor captured prisoner isis syria aleppo haruna yukawa fighter

There was a video (since removed from YouTube) of an impromptu interrogation seemingly immediately after his capture. He gives his name but the music soundtrack makes it hard to hear. It might be Haruna Yukawa, who seems to be a military contractor of some kind, working in Syria through his “private military company” PMC Japan. The first video shows the man being forced to repeat what his captors say.

While there was some earlier online speculation, the man does not seem to be the Japanese extreme tourist and amateur photographer Toshifumi Fujimoto, who has been known to turn up in war zones.

We will be updating as we learn more. For now, we hope the man is treated humanely and the Japanese government can assist him.

Update (August 18th)

The Japanese Embassy in Syria has said that they received information about the man’s capture on August 16th and are currently treating it as a kidnapping.

The videos originally posted have already been removed by the users. We found the first video elsewhere and reposted it.

Update (August 19th)

The consensus is that the man held captive is indeed military contractor Haruna Yukawa and he is certainly not a photographer or doctor, and that he has ties to the FSA, opposed by the Islamic State and the Syrian government.

However, Mr Yukawa’s fate is still uncertain and many of the original videos posted on YouTube have disappeared. This is unusual, since IS et al usually have no qualms about boasting of their activities in dealing with infidels and the like.

He would likely have considerable information that would be valuable to the enemies of the FSA and this may be too valuable to IS simply to execute a pesky foreign adventurist involved in their war. Japan also has a record of paying generous ransoms to so-called “terrorist” groups in the past and the IS may even be hoping for something along those lines (given the size and resources of the Islamic State, though, this is a long shot).

Update (August 27th)

Reuters has investigated and found out more about Yukawa’s background. It seems he is not the mercenary people thought he was.

Update (January 20th, 2015)

IS has now claimed they will execute Yukawa, along with fellow captured Japanese, journalist Kenji Goto, within 72 hours unless a $200 million ransom is paid by the Japanese government.

is terrorist capture japanese kenji goto haruna yukawa execute ransom

[Images via KhabarTV.]

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16 Comments

  • Avatar
    geister0852 August 18, 2014

    isisに捕えられている日本人が一刻も早く釈放楽しみください
    韓国人が

  • Avatar
    Trent860 August 18, 2014

    日本人は韓国人ことと扇動のうち、やはり野蛮な浪人

  • Avatar
    Toni August 18, 2014

    ISIS posts their propaganda on 4chan’s /pol/ (http://www.4chan.org/pol/), where they posted these videos. They claimed that they believed the man was Haruna Yukawa, a mercenary who fought with the FSA, and claimed he was beheaded.

    There was no evidence to support this, only these videos. However ISIS regularly posts graphic and disturbing videos of the mass executions and beheadings of their captives. I’m sorry to say that if this man was with the FSA, it’s very unlikely that he’s alive.

  • William
    William (Post author) August 18, 2014

    @Toni

    Thank you for the information. If you know where the videos were originally posted with those claims, could you please share the exact links?

  • Avatar
    Toni August 18, 2014

    @William

    Threads on 4chan are unfortunately deleted after 500 posts. I searched the man’s name after it died to find out more about him which lead me here. I’m asking in another ISIS thread to see if they’ll give me more information.

    It’s unusual for their media guys to delete videos though. They’re usually not afraid to show the world exactly what they’re doing to people (as terror tactics), but in this case they only showed the man’s interrogation. I asked here:

    http://boards.4chan.org/pol/thread/34155420/isis-taking-america

  • William
    William (Post author) August 18, 2014

    @Toni

    Thank you. Yes, we were also surprised that the YouTube videos disappeared so quickly. The videos were very tame by ISIS standards, plus we would argue, given Japan’s past record of negotiating with Middle East “terrorists” (see the 1970’s), IS had little to fear in terms of retaliation.

  • Avatar
    Toni August 18, 2014

    @William

    Sorry I don’t have more. If I see another thread about him I’ll come back to let you know, they do post there regularly because the site is completely uncensored and anonymous. There is hope since they haven’t released photo’s/videos of his execution which is their usual style – but these people are not merciful, and I’ve never heard of them releasing captives.

  • Avatar
    Stephen August 18, 2014

    Haruna appeared to recently be in Aleppo, which is the site of a major Islamic State push against the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front (aka Syrian Opposition) so it would make sense to be him.

    Obviously, I hope nothing happens to the guy, but Aleppo is ranked as the most dangerous place in the world (seriously) right now. You’ve got the Islamic State closing in on one side and a tyrannical regime hellbent on surviving no matter the cost on the other.

  • Avatar
    bundangbear August 19, 2014

    The PMC JAPAN site went down yesterday. See for yourself.
    Having worked with PMC in the past, I am absolutely certain this is Haruna. Their MO is to play the “clueless Japanese tourist-journalist” when caught and ISIS in the vid is so stupid and clearly never picked up a copy of Soldier of Fortune. If Haruna is still alive, his chances survival increase, as PMC are psy-ops masters. He would convert to Islam and even kill to get out, sure. He is one thing: a mercenary.
    81-

  • Avatar
    Johne789 August 21, 2014

    Heya im for the first time here. I discovered this board and I to uncover It truly helpful &amp it helped me out a whole lot. I hope to supply something back and aid other people such as you helped me. decfgbgddeef

  • Avatar
    Brian August 23, 2014

    Is there any rebuttal to claim Haruna Yukawa is not an PMC but wargame enthusiast who went to Syria to establish credibility among wargames?

    Source: http://www.chechensinsyria.com/?p=22395

  • Avatar
    Scott September 27, 2014

    If he was a military contracter wouldn’t he a have a better hair cut, i mean going to war by himself syria, he would have at least have shaved his head and taken some supplies.

  • Avatar
    John January 20, 2015

    Now Jihadi John of IS is threatening to cut off his head.

  • Avatar
    AJC January 21, 2015

    Yukawa Haruna is already dead. He’s dead for months. There was video of his interrogation, and there were photos of his dead body posted online.Crazy, but our stupid Japanese prime minister Abe is willing to pay a ransom of 200 million US dollars in response to an obviously fake video released by a habitual liar (Rita Katz) who is already well known for fake videos. The man paraded on the “ISIS” video (which is really from Rita Katz’s SITE), does not have Japanese features, he looks like a Chinese man with too much badly done make-up in a cheap style. People in Asia can tell the difference, but the arrogant Rita Katz’s bunch of amateur video makers insultingly seem to think that all Asians look the same…. I agree with the experts, these videos are hoaxes.

    It’s already been exposed that these fake beheading videos were produced by Rita Katz’s SITE organisation though she continues to deny it. SITE was the source, not ISIS as they tried to lead everyone to believe, they admit putting up the videos but continue the unbelievable pretence that makes no logical sense;

Trackbacks for this post

  • […] Zitat von DerBossHier Ein FSA Asiate wurde von der ISIS gefangen genommen Japanese 'photographer'/mercenary working for private security company PMC Japan & with the FSA is captured by ISIS. ISIS claim capture of Japanese ?photographer? (or ?doctor?) in Aleppo, Syria | Trends in Japan – Tok… […]

  • […] The consensus is that the man held captive is indeed military contractor Haruna Yukawa and he is certainly not a photographer or doctor, and that he has ties to the FSA, opposed by the Islamic State and the Syrian government. However, Mr Yukawa’s fate is still uncertain and many of the original videos posted on YouTube have disappeared. This is unusual, since IS et al usually have no qualms about boasting of their activities in dealing with infidels and the like.  […]