Tehran, Tokyo Working to Free Kidnapped Student in Iran

A009056896.jpgJapan said Friday it was working with Iranian authorities to free a student kidnapped by bandits, saying it was unclear how long he would be held captive. Satoshi Nakamura, 23, a sociology student who had been traveling around Asia, was abducted Monday but was said to be in good condition.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura remained tightlipped on the case, saying “there are no particular new things that I should tell.”

“These kinds of cases can be protracted, but they can also be resolved unexpectedly,” Komura told a news conference. “We want to continue making an effort to release him safely by coordinating with Iranian authorities.”

Nakamura was seized as he left his hotel in Bam in the southeastern province of Kerman and headed for the city’s ancient citadel, a tourist attraction devastated by a 2003 earthquake.

Nakamura was kidnapped by a bandit named Esmail “Shahbakhsh and is in good condition.”

Shakbakhsh kidnapped the student to “exchange him for his son … who belongs to a group of bandits and was recently arrested,” the source was quoted as saying.

The bandit is said to be the same man whose gang abducted two Belgian tourists in August, who were later freed.

Tokyo has historically had cordial relations with Tehran, both before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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