Japanese journalist detained in Myanmar

Japan has asked Myanmar to release the journalist as soon as possible and to explain the arrest

Akshita Jain
Monday 19 April 2021 13:07
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<p>Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi in this 26 February photo raises his hands as he is escorted by police in Yangon, Myanmar.</p>

Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi in this 26 February photo raises his hands as he is escorted by police in Yangon, Myanmar.

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Myanmar authorities have detained a Japanese journalist and he is currently being held in a prison in Yangon.

Japan has asked Myanmar to release the journalist, named as Yuki Kitazumi, as soon as possible and to explain the arrest.

“We will continue asking the Myanmar side for his early release, while doing our utmost for the protection of the Japanese citizens in that country,” chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato was quoted as saying by AP.

Japan’s NHK public television said witnesses saw Mr Kitazumi being arrested and taken from his home. Japanese media identified him as a freelance journalist based in Yangon and a former journalist with Nikkei business newspaper. 

Mr Kitazumi has not been charged yet and diplomats are seeking permission to visit him in jail, a Japanese embassy spokesman told AFP.

He was briefly detained in February while covering the protests that have erupted after a military coup ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power on 1 February. 

Japan last month suspended new aid to Myanmar in response to the coup with foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi saying the decision will send a “clear” message. 

The Myanmar military has intensified its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and also detained several journalists. Monitoring group Reporting ASEAN said at least 34 journalists and photographers remain in custody across the country.

The Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw, who was arrested while covering a protest against the coup, was released from detention last month. He said the judge dropped all charges against him because he was doing his job at the time of his arrest. 

Responding to the anti-coup protests, government forces have killed 728 people and detained 3,141 detained, non-profit group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said.

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