Journalist Jumpei Yasuda, who returned home last year after more than three years in captivity in Syria, has been attempting to obtain a passport for five months but the Foreign Ministry has yet to make a decision on his application.

The 45-year-old freelance journalist said earlier this week that he has been told by the ministry that his application is still "under examination." Government officials have confirmed the details.

"I'm effectively banned from traveling overseas, as a decision to issue my passport has not been made for some time," Yasuda said.