Afghan captors release Japanese reporter

A Japanese journalist who was abducted by militants in Afghanistan five months ago has been freed by his captors and left the country, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.

Kosuke Tsuneoka, a freelance journalist and veteran of war zones, was kidnapped on April 1. He was released Saturday night to a Japanese embassy and appeared tired but otherwise unharmed, the ministry said in a statement.

"Thank you to all those that worried about me and worked for my release," Tsuneoka wrote on his blog Monday morning from Dubai. "I am scheduled to return to Haneda tonight," he said, referring to an airport in Tokyo.

Tsuneoka's mother told Kyodo News agency that her 41-year-old son had called home from the embassy after being released in the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province.

In a series of messages to his Twitter account, Tsuneoka said he had thought he would be executed, and that he was not being held by the Taliban, as reported in the Japanese media. His abductors were local militants posing as Taliban to decieve the Japanese government, he wrote.

Tsuneoka's captors apparently decided to release him because he is a fellow Muslim, Kyodo said.