Japanese man kidnapped in Iran said to have called parents in Japan

Other News Materials 3 December 2007 04:33 (UTC +04:00)

A Japanese student who was kidnapped in Iran in early October recently made a call to his parents in Japan and told them he was well, an Iranian government official said Sunday.

Satoshi Nakamura, 23, was kidnapped Oct. 7 by a group of bandits while traveling in southeastern Iran.

Another official, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini, said at a news conference Sunday that the phone call was made a few days ago.

Nakamura's father Kiyotaka, 53, who lives in Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, said Sunday, ''I have no information that I can talk about in particular and cannot make any comment. I'll come forward and speak when the right time comes.''

In a letter sent to major news organizations in October, he said his son phoned the family on Oct. 10 and told them he had been abducted.

The Iranian government official said he was told that given the tone of the kidnapped man's voice, it is believed his health is in good condition.

The official said the latest phone call did not provide any lead about where Nakamura may be detained but he believes the man may be in Pakistan, given information from law-enforcement authorities.

Nakamura, a senior at Yokohama National University, was kidnapped near the southeastern Iranian city of Bam by a group of bandits while he was traveling.

The group is believed to have taken him to a region on the border with Pakistan and is thought to be calling for release of a detained member of the group in exchange for freeing Nakamura.

Concern is growing in Japan about Nakamura's health with nearly two months having passed. The mountainous area where he is believed held is known to get cold.

Japanese Senior Vice Foreign Minister Itsunori Onodera is scheduled to visit Tehran on Tuesday to request once again that Iranian officials help realize an early release of the kidnapped student. ( Kyodo )