After five months of imprisonment in Afghanistan, Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka is a free man. His captors, an Islamic militant group, set him free this weekend, and while the exact reasons for his release are unconfirmed, the AP reports that his conversion to Islam in 2000 may be the reason, as well as his tweets two days prior to his release.
On September 3, the journalist found a way to tweet to the outside world, confirming that he was alive. A soldier guarding Tsuneoka showed him his new Nokia cellphone and asked for his help using the Internet, according to Mashable. The journalist obliged and went above and beyond, calling to set up a data plan and telling the soldier about Twitter while using it in his own service.
“That’s how I got the message out,” Tsuneoka told a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, according to the AP. “I’m sure they never thought they were tricked.”
Tsuneoka thought he was going to die in June, when his captors threatened to kill him if Japan did not meet their demands within 72 hours. “I thought I would be certainly killed, so I tried to prepare myself to face it,” he said. Then, as more time passed, he looked forward to freedom until he finally reached it.
“Although it was frustrating that I didn’t know when that might be, my fear of death gradually faded and I felt better,” he said. “I’m ready to go back right now…But after all the trouble, I have to think how not to repeat the same mistake. That’s the problem.”
Go back? Tsuneoka is either the bravest or the craziest man on Twitter, but either way, it takes a damn good journalist to stay alive for five months and capitalize on Twitter in a clutch that can determine life or death. It’s good to have him back!