• Kyodo

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A 47-year-old Japanese man kidnapped from his home in the southern Philippines on Thursday was confirmed by his wife to be alive, Philippine police said.

The suspected kidnappers called the woman’s mobile phone around 6 a.m. Sunday, and she was allowed to talk to her husband, Yasumitsu Hashiba, the police said. The woman, 33-year-old Filipina Emelie Lopio, then reported the situation to police.

Hashiba and Lopio are said to have spoken on the phone in Japanese, but police have not revealed other details of the conversation.

On Thursday evening, a group of five men barged into Hashiba’s house and kidnapped him. The Tokyo native owns a merchandise store in Lanuza in northeastern Mindanao, a stronghold of communist guerrillas, according to Lopio.

The group demanded 2 million pesos, or about 4.4 million yen, in ransom.

This is the first known kidnapping in Mindanao involving a Japanese in recent years. , though there have been kidnappings targeting Chinese and Koreans.

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