TOKYO, April 2 (Reuters) – A Japanese journalist has been kidnapped in Afghanistan, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said on Friday, after media reports saying the freelancer had gone missing in the northern city of Kunduz.
Kosuke Tsuneoka, a 40-year-old freelance journalist who is a Muslim, has been in Afghanistan since mid-March to cover the Taliban, Japanese media reported. It was unclear who the kidnappers were.
“I am aware that he has been kidnapped,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told a news conference, but refused to comment on details citing humanitarian concerns.
Kunduz is a strategically located city near the northern border with Tajikistan. The region is a part of a key NATO supply line and has been a main conflict front in recent years after militants staged a fierce bid to reclaim their former stronghold.
Japan, a major donor to Afghanistan, has some 120 citizens in the war-torn country and said last year it would give Kabul up to $5 billion in new aid. In 2008, a Japanese aid worker was killed in eastern Afghanistan after being kidnapped. (Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa and Yoko Kubota; Editing by Jerry Norton)