Report: Japanese Had Plans to Join Islamic State


TOKYO — Japanese police questioned a university student and several others Monday over suspected plans to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group, news reports said.

The reported investigation by Tokyo police would be the first indication of possible support within Japan for the militant group.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police declined to comment on the reports.

Public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News service said investigators questioned a 26-year-old male Hokkaido University student and several men who shared a house with him on suspicion they were preparing to go to Syria to fight.

Investigators believe that the student, who is on a leave of absence from school, responded to a poster at a used-book store in downtown Tokyo offering positions for "work in Syria," Kyodo said. It quoted investigators as saying the student admitted he had planned to join the group in Syria. Police have not found records of any travel there, it said.

NHK and Kyodo said police searched the house and the bookstore but did not formally arrest the men.

In Japan, the penalty for someone convicted of preparing for private combat is up to five years in jail.

In August, a Japanese citizen believed to be Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old private military company operator, was kidnapped in Syria, and is believed to still be in captivity. His reason for going to Syria remains unclear. The Foreign Ministry is believed to be working to win his release, but has declined to give any details.

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