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Video Emerges of Japanese National Allegedly Killed by the Islamic State in Syria

The Japanese Foreign Ministry is looking into reports that a Japanese citizen has been abudcted and possibly executed.

by Jordan Larson
Aug 18 2014, 8:05pm

Image via YouTube

A YouTube video allegedly showing the interrogation of a Japanese national believed to be kidnapped by Islamic State militants surfaced on Sunday. The man is believed to be Haruna Yukawa, the chief executive officer of a private security firm called Private Military Company who had been traveling in Syria and Iraq for some months.

In the video Yukawa is interrogated in English by unnamed men standing off camera, asking why he has a gun, where he's from, and whether he's CIA. Yukawa replies that he's "half journalist, half doctor." The interrogators also repeatedly ask Yukawa if he has killed a soldier.

It's unknown whether Yukawa is still being held or if he's alive. However, a heavily shared tweet from Twitter user @OmarJerbi yesterday stated, "A Japanese spy Haruna Yukawa was captured by ISIS army and executed by God's Judgment."

The video was uploaded to YouTube and shared on Twitter by user @alomrkollh with a commonly used hashtag translating to the "State of the Islamic Caliphate."

While it's unknown if the user is a member of the Islamic State, other videos uploaded to his YouTube channel include footage of a cat being tortured, a beheaded corpse montage, and footage of Islamic State Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's only known public appearance at a Mosul mosque in July.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry announced today that it is looking into these claims and has set up three investigative task forces, according to the Associated Press. However, the primary task force has not been launched in Syria - where it's believed to be too dangerous - but in Jordan, where Japan's Damascus Embassy has relocated since the beginning of Syria's civil war. 

"This is an area where various groups are carrying out battle. We are focusing on confirming if such capturing has really taken place, as well as the safety of the captured," an official told Reuters.

Yukawa's YouTube channel contains multiple videos of him firing guns and accompanying fighters in what he claims to be Iraq and Syria. The most recent post is a statement from three weeks ago in which Yukawa says he plans to upload more footage at the end of August.

Nobuo Kimoto, an adviser to Yukawa's company, said Yukawa had traveled to Syria and Iraq "because he thought it would be useful for his work."

Follow Jordan Larson on Twitter: @jalarsonist