Japan demands release of journalist held in Myanmar

Baku, April 20, AZERTAC

Japan's top government spokesman on Tuesday demanded security forces in Myanmar release a Japanese journalist detained for allegedly spreading "fake news" after covering protests against the military junta that seized power in a February coup, according to Kyodo News.

Yuki Kitazumi, 45, was taken from his home in Myanmar's largest city Yangon on Sunday and is being held in prison, according to the Japanese Embassy in the Southeast Asian country.

"Japan considers the way in which the situation has been handled, including the fact he was sent to prison before sentencing, unacceptable," Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a press conference.

"We have lodged a protest with the Myanmar side regarding this point, and we are calling for the Japanese national in question to be swiftly released," Kato said, adding the embassy is trying to obtain details on the incident, including what the procedure going forward will look like.

A freelance journalist who previously worked at the Tokyo-based Nikkei business daily, Kitazumi has been writing about the protests for Japanese media outlets and posting about the situation on social media. He was also briefly detained by security forces while covering a protest in Yangon on Feb. 26.

The embassy said Kitazumi has not suffered any injuries and is being held at Insein prison in Yangon where many political detainees are imprisoned.

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