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Man's passport confiscated after he refuses to give up Syria travel plan


The government has confiscated the passport of a Japanese man who refused to give up his plan to travel to Syria after Foreign Ministry officials asked him not to go.

The man, Yuichi Sugimoto, 58, is a freelance photographer from Niigata City. Sugimoto criticized the government's action on Sunday, calling it a violation of his freedom of speech, NTV reported.

The Japanese government issued a travel alert about Syria back in 2011 and has strongly advised its citizens not to go there. However, it is not against the law if a citizen decides to go and this is the first time that a Japanese citizen's passport has been confiscated.

The move comes after two Japanese nationals were beheaded by Islamic State militants after being taken hostage in Syria. One of them, freelance journalist Kenji Goto, had been asked three times by the Foreign Ministry last year not to go to Syria, but he went anyway, saying in a video that he accepted full responsibility if anything happened to him.

NHK said Sunday that the government became aware of Sugimoto's plan to visit Syria after reading about his plans in a newspaper. Sugimoto said he had planned to take photos of the refugee situation near the Syrian-Turkish border and would not have gone to areas controlled by Islamic State.

There have been other cases of Japanese citizens wanting to go to Syria recently. Last October, police talked a 26-year-old Japanese Muslim out of trying to join Islamic State jihadists in Syria. The man, a student at Hokkaido University, had reportedly planned to fly to the Middle East to fight with the Islamic extremist group, which has cut a swathe through Syria and Iraq.

However, he dropped his plan after police warned that his passport would be confiscated and he could be subject to criminal charges.

Under Japanese law, it is illegal to prepare or plot to wage war against a foreign state in a personal capacity.

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Unless the Japanese government decides to make it illegal to travel to Syria, I don't see how they have a legal reason for taking his passport and preventing him from going.

17 ( +24 / -6 )

Clearly, this guy's job would most likely be the reason he's going there. 'The State' has no business stopping a person of legal age from travelling for legal means. Since 'the State' has NOT made it illegal to travel to Syria, the only thing they could do is make that person or any person sign a form stating that they have been officially warned against travel to said country and should they find themselves in trouble for the reasons that that the advisory was in effect for... they'd be on their own. Legally 'the State' would be off the hook.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

I actually agree with slumdog on this one. Is the government from here on in allowed to decide where a person can or can't travel? and who will be the exceptions?

4 ( +19 / -15 )

I agree with the government on this one. Sure, it's not illegal, but if Sugimoto goes and gets caught, the whole hostage crisis starts again. His family make appeals to the government, and Abe gets blamed again...and all for no reason.

Goto made a video of himself saying he accepted full responsibility and look at the fallout. No thank you, Mr Sugimoto, you may be a freelance photographer but you don't need to go to Syria to make a living. The government may just have saved your life.

3 ( +19 / -17 )

I think it's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. If he went to Syria and was kidnapped, what would happen then? Requests would be made of the government - if not by the kidnappers then by the guy's family and the public at large. Also, the more times Japanese citizens are kidnapped the worse it is for Japanese travelling abroad. It should be highlighted that he is a FREELANCE journalist. So it is for profit he is going there, and of his own volition. I don't think it is so extreme to prevent someone from doing something that very clearly has implications to a greater number of people than just himself.

I am more curious to know how the Japanese government knew he was planning on going there!

1 ( +7 / -6 )

An interesting discussion.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


I am more curious to know how the Japanese government knew he was planning on going there!

Says it right in the article. His plans were in the newspaper!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Agree with Brainiac & Phil. The government doesn't legally have the right to stop him but they've still done the right thing in my book considering recent events & the state of things over there.

As for the 26 yr old muslim Japanese ISIS supporter they really should have let him go. Australia is making the same mistake of cancelling passports to keep them in the country. Why keep them in the country? If they stay here they are potential ticking time bombs.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I too don't think that the Government of Japan has the legal right to prevent Sugimoto to travel to Syria since 1) it hasn't made it illegal to go there, and 2) he was planning on going to Syria for legitimate work and not to join the IS. However, the passport itself is property of the GOJ, not the bearer, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was some clause in the law which permits the government at their discretion to confiscate a citizen's passport in a situation such as this much like how they can in situations involving national security, unpaid child support, etc.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Taking away Mr Sugimoto's passport is in no way violating his freedom of speech. One clause of the constitution states that people are free to move to another country, but it's not clear if this means "to move permanently", rather than to visit for a short period.

Mentally ill people who wish to harm themselves are often confined against their will. Mr Sugimoto could easily be classed as mentally ill, given his recent actions and statements. He is being kept in Japan for his own good as he is obviously a bit thick.

But in any case, if Mr Sugimoto really wants to go to Syria and have his head cut off he is free to renounce his Japanese nationality and leave Japan for good. Once he is no longer Japanese the government can wash their hands of him.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

What a dummy. After recent events, you'd think people would get it, but I guess there are still suicidal IDIOTS out there who will never get a clue

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Unless the Japanese government decides to make it illegal to travel to Syria, I don't see how they have a legal reason for taking his passport and preventing him from going.

This is the country where police can detain you for 3 weeks (or more with a court order) with no evidence, or real suspicion, and force you to submit to confessing to crimes you never committed.

It isn't surprising really, a better way of handling it in my opinion, is to have the man in question write a formal agreement or document officially that the government has no responsibility for his safety etc etc etc, and publicly advertise the fact, in case something happens, everyone's butts are covered and we won't have to deal with all the "press" when the dude gets taken hostage.

Send a great message at the same time, Japan will let it's people go where they want, but are not responsible for them.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Not good. The law really should be the law; too malleable, and where does it end? A better solution would have been to have the man sign an acknowledgment that his fate was no longer the responsibility of the Japanese government.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It is the governments passport ,not his

4 ( +8 / -4 )

You really have to question the wisdom of the guy wanting to go to Syria on the back of two fellow Nationals being kidnapped and beheaded in very recent times. I understand that he might feel he has a story to tell, but not only is his safety at grave risk, his family are to be considered as is the wider Japanese community which reacted with horror and anger at what happened to the other two - and could potentially be drawn deeper into a conflict that has nothing to do with them.

Not smart - so I understand the government's reaction.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I'm normally against government controls, but in this case it is 1000% justified. He should be under surveillance as well. I say all this because if he were Muslim we would certainly want to do this these things...

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Nanny state! Let him go, but ask him to sign a document stating he knows the risk and knows that no money will be spent for buying is freedom if kidnapped.

How can the government confiscate passports for "planning" something anyway? If he really wants to go, he can simply leave without saying here he is heading. Ridiculous story.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Please remember, you do not have human rights such as freedom to travel, you have privileges that can be taken away at the whim of a governmental official. Would the government have done the same thing if he was Japanese with extended family in that part of the world and he was going to try and help them? Or if he was going there to help a charitable organization, or if he was employed by the BBC or NHK? As far as I know suicide is not a crime in Japan (depending on where you do it) and it certainly isn't a crime in Japan if you do it in another country. If you think going there is suicidal then you might be right but if you think that the government has the right to stop you because it cares about your welfare then your an idiot. The government wants votes, power, paychecks, chances to instigate its agenda and doesn't need headaches like media focus on Japanese citizens in danger overseas when it is powerless to help them. It just makes the government look weak. Which it is!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Please remember, you do not have human rights such as freedom to travel, you have privileges that can be taken away at the whim of a governmental official.

Wrong. Unless a territory is explicitly (and legally) off limits or unless an individual has committed an act which requires their presence, freedom of travel for all people in democratic countries is a right, not a privilege. You may have mistaken modern democracies for North Korea.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@laguna My point exactly, so where are his rights?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Nanny state! Let him go, but ask him to sign a document stating he knows the risk and knows that no money will be spent for buying is freedom if kidnapped.

First of all, not only are you putting yourself in harms way, but you are putting others in danger too (especially military personnel who are fighting ISIS, because now they have to protect your sorry @$$). Additionally, you're also bringing unneeded negative attention to your country. No one here wants to be on ISIS's radar, but by going over there and stirring the hornet's nest, you're telling ISIS that Japan is also a part of this war.

The Japanese government also has the obligation to protect its citizens (even the stupid ones), so they did the right thing by revoking his passport.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Perhaps I am not understanding the logic involved here.

There are numerous Japanese reporters employed by the various TV companies, doing frequent live and recorded reports from the area to which Sugimoto apparently intended to go. I haven't heard that the Japanese government is demanding that they return, or is planning on confiscating their passports.

Is the issue that the Japanese government feels that corporate journalists are better protected/at less risk than freelancers?

Or is it that they feel they can control individuals but not corporations?

I understand the down side of having journalists in danger areas, but if the pressure and evidently extra-legal passport confiscation is selectively applied it seems like a double standard to me.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

He can only go after preparing 100 M $ as ransom

2 ( +6 / -4 )

All flights to Syria should be slapped with a do not return policy, unless part of military forces fighting Daesh.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Call me a cynic, but which came first? The guy wanting to go to Syria or wanting to go to Syria after he realized he would get all this free publicity.

Furthermore, unlike other countries, bureaucrats in Japan can delay unsavory developments by simply stonewalling. Now as for Japanese Muslims wanting to and join ISIS, I wouldn't recommend it. Indeed, the westerners who are already in Syria might soon become victims of their comrades if and when the US (and friends) pull off their gloves and really start air attacks.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let him go I he wants to, just revoke his passport after he has gone, then he cant come back. He will be a citizen of the Islam Caliphate, peace on be upon him, and advise him to apply for a visa from the nearest Japanese Embassy if he wants to come back, just refuse it. One more troublemaker gone from this peaceful land.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

**Article 19 of the passport law states that the foreign minister can order a passport holder to surrender his or her passport "in cases where there is a need to cancel a trip abroad in order to protect the life, body and assets of the passport holder."

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I can just imagine Abe spitting out his green tea while reading about this in the newspaper..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Isao Itabashi, an anti-terrorism expert at the Council for Public Policy, said, "If Japanese go to Syria now, there is the strong possibility they will be captured by the Islamic State. While there is freedom of travel, the situation could unfold where many people will have to become involved because the circumstances go well beyond the responsibility of a single individual. Taking back a passport is an unavoidable measure for protecting Japanese nationals."

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Last October, police talked a 26-year-old Japanese Muslim out of trying to join Islamic State jihadists in Syria.

What the...? This guy should have been arrested, not given a slap on the wrist. I can just imagine the policemen saying ダメ ダメ! I sure as hell hope someone is competent enough to keep this guy on the radar. Had this been a foreigner, he would have been jailed and then booted out of the country.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I think that the government and people of Japan need to understand that as an individual you have the right to make a bad decision. This bad decision is by no way an indictment of the nation's people or government on the whole. If he as aprivate citizen decides to go ther he goes at his own peril and not at the request of the J-gov. If he gets captured that should be between him, his company and the captors. It would be a different story if he was acting in a government capacity or he wa s in an area not known for this violence and then captured.

The re s t of the people need to understand that if one person messes up, that doesn't mean you as a nation are responsible.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Article 19 of the passport law states that the foreign minister can order a passport holder to surrender his or her passport in cases where there is a need to cancel a trip abroad in order to protect the life, body and assets of the passport holder.

If the foreign ministry is going to start pulling passports of journalists in order to "protect the life, body and assets of the passport holder", it's going to get very busy very fast.

If the government does not want Japanese to go there, it would be simpler to make it illegal to do so. However, there are plenty of place around the world whre the life body and assets of the passholder are in danger.

Better that the government warns the people, has them sign an affidavit of their awarness of the danger and the fact that they understand that in the event they get into trouble in said country/area that the Japanese government is not responsible for their safety and welfare.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I wonder if people would complain "where are his rights" if he possibly went to syria and returned with having received training from known terrorists, then carried out terrorism on japanese soil.

Who the hell goes to syria for anything legal anymore? It's not a country you go to for business, it's a war zone with no human rights.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

So just like ISIS, Japan has captured its own Japanese citizen and is holding him hostage.

Will they give back the passport if he insists that he now plans on going to Spain or somewhere else? I doubt it. At that point they would be holding him in Japan purely based on the suspicion that they might be saving his life assuming he is not telling the truth.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It is impossible to protect against stupidity, especially in a free society and for adults.

Let the guy go.

Get him on tape saying he understands x, y, z and that if he is captured, tortured, killed, and/or harmed in any way, that he was warned by the Japanese government.

So Japan, it is time for a decision. Are you a free country or not? This is one of those times when you show it by letting an adult do what an adult wants to do.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Don't they learnt anything after two hostages were killed ? The government doing the right thing.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The government should stop meddling in the welfare of its citizens who are unable to heed advice should they be captured. I know this is cold and impracticable, but after two Japanese were gruesomely murdered, I would think that country would be off limit to those thinking on embarking on that adventure. Perhaps they need to see more Japanese men beheaded before these knuckleheads are scared of these jihadists.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People are quick to criticize the government for not letting him go. Then if they let him go and he gets captured, they will be quick to criticize Abe and/or the government for everything.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Let the fool go. He'll only have himself to blame if he ends up wearing a orange jumpsuit in a video begging for the help of the government that he criticized for ''violating his freedom of speech''.

The government have got this one right. The people who are wanting to go are either just plain stupid or they have screw lose inside their head.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If this travel could put the Japanese government and its taxpayers in a dangerous ransom and political situation, yes the government had the right to prevent its citizen from doing so.

Journslist or not the government can use the above and slso justify its actions by brlieving that corizen would be deliberately putting himself in danger and compromising its fellow citizens if caught by the extremists which issued a statement that they eould indeed target japanese in the area.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Im all for freedom, but the gov does reserve the right to take one's passport. National security supercedes a citizen's right to travel freely. Or if the guy really wanted to go to syria, he should've kept his mouth shut & went via multiple countries.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If someone really wants to get there they can. Only an idiot tells the Government what they are thinking.

Taking his passport is the equivalent of taking away his freedom. That makes Japan just like China.

Thought you guys don't like to be compared to them?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

It is the governments passport ,not his

This is arguable, in that the document, while issued by the government, is however paid for by the person carrying the document and is the sole property of the person to whom it is issued to for the duration of the period of it's validity.

The passport, outside of the country of issue, is the property (sole) property of the person that it is issued to, so in effect, and until a court says anything otherwise, is the property of the individual and not the state.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The government ought to make it legal for Jietai to join the Jordanians,. the Americans and a few others in the coalition of the willing to go to Syria and Iraq in their quest to wipe out the Islamic State wackos.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Anyone who wants to go should be able to go, but cannot return. The authorities should make it clear to them of the danger and the consequences of going, if they still want to go wave them bye bye and step aside.

Better they go and do what ever it is they think they want to do over there than amongst the innocents going about their daily life here.

To be honest though anyone who does want to go must have serious mental health issues going on , I saw an interview on tv with this guy today and he didn't seem real smart and sounded pretty naïve but you'd have to ask yourself some serious questions if you did want to go, especially not having any vested interest in the place. ie no family or other ties to the area.

Some people only want their 5 minutes of fame on youtube and are willing to sacrifice their whole life for that.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )


The passport, outside of the country of issue, is the property (sole) property of the person that it is issued to, so in effect, and until a court says anything otherwise, is the property of the individual and not the state.

Nope. Your country can revoke your passport for any number of reasons while you are visiting or residing overseas. An example of this would be if your are an American living here in Japan and your U.S. passport is revoked as a result of your failure to pay child support to your ex-wife back in the U.S. You would then be forced to go to your nearest consulate or embassy to face the music before the government will reinstate your passport.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I guess I'd let him go... but I would make him aware.... that if he is captured he would be on his own. Actually I'd probably make him sign something to that effect. Something saying we did everything we could to talk him or her out of it. Heck... tattoo it to his chest in Arabic... so his captors would know he'd be of no value.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Let's hope he hits the government with a 'restraint of trade' lawsuit. This is a typical knee-jerk reaction by the government. It is his choice where he goes. Are they confiscating passports of anybody who wants to go to an area where they might catch Ebola and potentially bring it back to Japan and infect others? THAT is a national security issue, not one guy who may or may not have a death wish. The government has already set a precedent - we will not pay up - so if anyone goes they should know what they are getting into.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Woe-woe . . . . looks like i gotta' face the music. Lets hope the X aint hip to the skip. Naw- j/k . . . Good info tho USNinJapan2.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We should be clear why the Japanese government did this. It was about "meiwaku", about the possibility of this guy becoming an annoyance, a nuisance. They didn't want to have a repeat of what happened with Yukawa and Goto.

They don't really care about what happens to Sugimoto, but, rather, that the Japanese government will have to deal with any fallout and potential political implications.... like looking weak and ineffective.

Sounds like this guy could have ended up in harms way, regardless of his plans, but that is not reason to stop him from travelling. Otherwise, the Ministry of Finance would be confiscating passports for Japanese planning to climb Mt. Everest, visit the pyramids in Egypt, travel to the U.S. with all of its guns, etc. The only different being, not the Japanese citizen ending up in harms way, but the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs actually having to become involved to try to sort things out.

Meiwaku. Nothing more needs to be said.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The government should have let him go, then exiled him so that he could never return. Once again, a selfish journalist looking to get the story of the century thinks he can wear his country's constitution on his back and expect his country to save him when something goes wrong.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A passport is not a travel document to get out of your country, but a travel document to enter another. If Syria accepts this guy to enter their country then so be it. The government has no right to stop a person from leaving the country and the worst they could do is concoct some kind of reason to bar him from re-entering the country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If I, a foreigner living in Japan, decided to go to Syria, would they stop me from going?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sounds like some idiot looking for his time in spotlight through controversy.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If the man wants to go, the government shouldn't stop him. But they probably worry that he'll be kidnapped, ransom and beheaded like Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.

So, be very clear to him, that he'll go at his own risk, if kidnapped, the Govt would not ransom for his release. His life insurance would also be invalid if he'd die in Syria, for whatever reason.

If he and his family agree to all those conditions, he would be free to leave Japan for Syria.

As for those would reveal they want to join the IS, they should be criminally charged, not just have their passport taken away and made to stay in the country. They would be a danger to the public. If you think just let them leave and not be allowed back into the country is an easy solution, but it would be like lending IS a hand, giving them more fighters, who would go on to inflict harm unto others. Of course, he they were arrest by IS, the very group they wanted to join, then obviously the Japan Govt would not ransom for them as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Great decision by the government on this one. They only confiscated the passport to keep him from becoming yet another hostage. The citizens need to understand to not put themselves in such great danger and expect their country to save them. Great job government.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Japanese government provides an identification "PASSPORT" to a Japanese who travels to other countries. Passport proves that he/she is a Japanese citizen. Therefore, the Japanese government basically owns the passport and has the right to confiscate the passport from the person who wishes to use it against the government's wish. At the same time, Mr. Sugimoto has the right to express his opinion and the right to travel to the place he wants to go. In this case, he will have to travel without his passport. Some Mexicans do that (coming to the U.S.). If he wants (although I do not encourage him to do so), he can do the same-traveling without his passport. It is entirely up to him.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's an old saying, "Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."

Traveling to a very dangerous part of the world where they torture and kill foreigners in the most gruesome way possible is not something you should be doing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sugimoto isn't brave for wanting to go, he's just plain stupid. Legal or not, I don't think anyone here with half a brain cell would question the government's reasons for wanting to stop him . There is nothing nefarious going on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Interest reading from all of you. There will be others who try to make the trip as time passes. This is just the beginning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if people would complain "where are his rights" if he possibly went to syria and returned with having received training from known terrorists, then carried out terrorism on japanese soil.

You don't have to go to Syria to learn the art of terrorism. If it is the Islamic variety you want training in, all someone has to do is take a trip to the souther Philippines or Thailand to get all the training they want. Also, the reporter in this case or his paper wrote about his intended travel. Lesson learned is don't publicize your trip plans. Like many of the ISIS fighters now from Europe, they are stating their travel plans to Turkey, and then hopping a bus across the border to Syria. If someone is hellbent on getting there, they will find a way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A passport is not a travel document to get out of your country, but a travel document to enter another...

What airline is going to allow any passenger to get on their planes leaving a country without having a passport? How will he purchase another ticket for that matter, international flights require one to submit their passport information when purchasing the ticket.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This sets a very bad precedent.. The government should not be able to confiscate passports unless the person has committed a crime

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Send a great message at the same time, Japan will let it's people go where they want, but are not responsible for them

haha...this made me laugh. So if the guy is kidnapped, then the goverment can just waive a piece of paper in front of the tv cameras from all over the world and say, "Well, we DID make him sign this document saying that we aren't responsible for him anymore." japan would be the laughing stock of the world.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Is it legal to fly to Turkey and take a bus to Syria?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

this one presents an interesting dilemma. as a free lance photographer he goes (in part) because its his livelyhood so the government is preventing him from earning a living. on the other hand ti would be a PITA if he's captured and held hostage. personally, i think making him sign his right to government help away makes sense. don't see how that make them a laughing stock.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"It is the governments passport ,not his."

Exactly the problem. Are Citizens actually Chattel?

UN Declaration of Human Rights

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. "

Hard to do that without a passport/slave card.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Between a rock and a hard place.

What happened to Haruna and Goto was monstrous, but the flow-on effects to lots of people round them (eg. Goto's wife had all those emails from ISIS) were not something that Goto had planned for.

Yes, the effects of the actions and decisions of stupid people on others around them - even if nothing happens, people are going to be worried. Then if something does happen, it does not matter what videos were made by Goto or agreements signed by anyone taking full responsibility, people are going to be adversely affected.

As far as Sugimoto losing his passport and then criticizing the government for

violation of his freedom of speech (!!!) with human rights like that, it would be a perfect world, but with idiots using this as an excuse it is far from perfect.

Also, what use is a passport to the braindead anyway?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think any one wanting to go to Syria needs to be schooled on the dangers. Not when there are no good guys. Rebels sold the position of one of the U.S. reporter out.

Idiots wanting to go and fight need deprogramming. This is nothing new, children of Romantics would run off to war only to be on the wrong side and killed. Usually brutally.

So I agree with the Government in this situation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yes, it is the case that we are chattel.We are governed not by a consensus but by the illusion of a democracy where governments and other groups such as corporations and local authorities impose their will on the private individual. A classic case of governments applying draconian law against the private interest is to invoke the 'national interest' or other such euphemistic language. A recent US case concerning the medical rights and treatment of a child pitted the desires of the hospital against the family.Fortunately, a judge ruled that it was the right of a parent to determine what medical treatment the child was to receive.Unfortunately, the mother was arrested and kept in confinement before commonsense prevailed. However, the nanny state will attempt to limit what the individual can do more and more......

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Man's passport confiscated after he refuses to give up Syria travel plan

If we was known to have ISIS sympathies it would make more sense to do what Australia is doing: Let him go, then cancel his passport. However, they should make him sign a "go at your own risk" document saying they won't be responsible for the consequences if he goes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What is it with everyone and the "sign a document" idea? Do you really think that will work? Do you really think the media will stop covering a hostage because he "signed a document"? Or that this somehow overrides the Japan's responsibility to protect its citizens? Get real, folks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yuichi Sugimoto, freelance photographer, planned to enter Syria on February 27 to cover refugee camps without assignment or publisher hiring him to travel to Syria, that makes him an 'adventurer', disqualifying any connection with "journalism".

Said before, Yuichi Sugimoto, at 58, is at the end of his freelance days. A "final" adventure could easily attract Sugimoto.

Had Sugimoto thought more carefully, his efforts should have been coordinated with Jordan and Japan given the shared tragedies of murders at the hands of ISIS gangsters.

Poor Mr. Sugimoto, the Foreign Ministry just saved his life, he should thank them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maybe Sugimoto's like the guy in a bar who pretends to show how manly he is by challenging somebody to a fight but actually he's hoping and expecting someone or someones nearby to break it up. He's just an attention seeker. This is his five or ten minutes of fame.

If the Japanese govt. told him, "Bon Voyage! And Good Luck!", then he'd suddenly find a good reason for staying.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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