The identity of Tsuneoka's abductors remains unclear. Afghan security officials said in June that Taliban militants had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, according to Tokyo-based agency Kyodo News. Tsuneoka said after his release that they were not Taliban insurgents, but "a group of corrupt armed factions" whose commander has links to the Afghan government, while the Japanese Embassy in Kabul said the group's affiliation was not known, Kyodo News reported. A Japanese government spokesman said Monday the government had not paid ransom to the kidnappers, according to Agence France-Presse.
"We are relieved that Kosuke Tsuneoka has been freed and is in
good health," said
France 3 television journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier, their translator, Mohammed Reza, and the group's unidentified driver are still being held by Taliban kidnappers in eastern Kapisa province. They were abducted in December 2009.