How A Japanese Man Tweeted Himself Out Of Captivity

Posted Sep 8, 2010

This past weekend a Japanese journalist was freed when he tricked captors in Afghanistan by sending two Twitter messages. One of his captors asked for his help about how to access the Internet on a new cell phone. Kosuke Tsuneoka is a freelance journalist that was released from 5 months of prison this Saturday. Kosuke was released one day after he sent out two Twitter messages.

“I am still alive [sic], but in jail” wrote Kosuke on his Twitter message at 1:15PM GMT this past Friday. He wrote a second message a few minutes later that said “here is archi in kunduz. in the jail of commander lativ.” This meant he was in jail at the Archi district of Kunduz.

Nobody heard from Kosuke since he disappeared on April 1. A low-ranking soldier was showing Kosuke his new cell phone, a Nokia N70 when he sent out the tweets from that cellphone.

The soldier asked Kosuke if he knew how to use the cellphone and so he explained it to him. The soldier heard about the Internet but did not know what it was. Kosuke was signed up to receive carrier GPRS data services for accessing the Internet, so he called the customer care number and activated the phone. The soldier asked Kosuke how to use the Internet and whether he could access Al Jazeera. Kosuke showed the soldier that he can access Al Jazeera by typing it on Google.

“But if you are going to do anything, you should use Twitter,” Kosuke advised to the soldier. “They asked what that was. And I told them that if you write something on it, then you can reach many Japanese journalists. So they said, ‘try it’.”