A purported video of missing Japanese journalist Jumpei Yasuda, who is believed to be held under captivity in Syria by jihadist group al-Nusra Front, has emerged.
The Japanese government has said it believes the video, which has been posted on Facebook, is of the journalist who went missing in northern Syria in July last year.
"Hello, I'm Jumpei Yasuda. Today is my birthday, 16th of March," the 42-year-old says in the vide, according to Japan Times. "They told me that I can speak what . . . I want freely, and I can send a message through this to anyone."
Yasuda was captured by militants after he crossed into the Idlib province of northwestern Syria. Earlier in June, in his last Twitter message Yasuda had said the conditions of his work had turned dangerous.
In the video, he is seen criticizing the Japanese government for apparently not doing anything to save him.
"I have to say something to my country. . . . No one responding. You are invisible. You are not exist. No one care about you," he says.
Japanese officials told the local media a Syrian man in Turkey posted the video online. However the government added that it was not aware of any ransom demand from the jihadists.
Japan Times contacted the man who claimed to have posted the video, Tarik Abdulhak. He told the daily that the video was filmed on Wednesday and that the journalists' captors have demined money.
"I was negotiating with them for the video clip for three months," Abdulhak said. "To begin with, they were asking me for money."
He added that the captive was in good health but mentally exhausted.
Abdulhak told the daily the jihadist group told him that they would sell Yasuda to the Islamic State group if negotiations with the Japanese government failed. " ...they told me they won't sell him. But they might be forced to give him to ISIS in a swap for a Nusra hostage."
Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the authorities were near certain that the man in the video was Yasuda. The top official said the government has "taken some actions, because securing safety for Japanese citizens is a top priority for the government."
But he dismissed ransom talks saying he was not aware of any such demand.
Yasuda winds up the video message with a note for the family: "I love you, my wife, father, mother and brother. I always think about you. I want to hug you. I want to talk with you. But I can't anymore."