The televised murder of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and another citizen, Haruna Yukawa, by militants in the so-called Islamic State in Syria has spurred Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to push harder for a more muscular foreign policy has polarized the public.
At the weekend, the government also took the unusual step of confiscating the passport of a freelance photojournalist to prevent him from traveling to Syria to report on the civil war there.
Yuichi Sugimoto, 58, told Kyodo News he planned to travel to Syria later this month and report from the refugee camps outside areas influenced by the Islamic State group. Government officials told him he would be arrested unless he surrendered his passport.
It was the first time the government has used a little known law that allows it to confiscate a person's passport to prevent travel to protect their life, local media say. But the move clashes with constitutional guarantees on freedom of movement.
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