Japanese Journalist Detained in Myanmar Moved to Prison: Embassy

By Kyodo News 19 April 2021

A Japanese freelance journalist detained by security forces in Myanmar’s largest city Yangon on Sunday has been transferred to prison, the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar said Monday.

Yuki Kitazumi, a former reporter for the Tokyo-based Nikkei business daily who now lives in Yangon, was detained at his house on Sunday night and taken away in a police vehicle, local media reported.

Kitazumi has been moved to Insein prison in Yangon where many political detainees are imprisoned, the embassy said. The reason for his detention is not yet known.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Monday the embassy is seeking information regarding Kitazumi’s detention.

“We will do our best to protect Japanese nationals in the country,” Suga told reporters.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said in a press conference, “We are urging the Myanmar government to release the journalist as soon as possible.”

Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said they had asked the Myanmar military about the reason for Kitazumi’s detention and whether he was suffering from any injuries.

The 45-year-old journalist was also briefly detained by security forces while covering an anti-coup protest there on Feb. 26.

His reports have been carried by Japanese media and he has also posted information on the situation in Myanmar on social media.

According to posts on social media, some people saw Kitazumi forced to raise his hands and kneel down by security forces and they brought out cardboard boxes from his house after searching it.

Myanmar’s ruling military has detained many journalists including foreign nationals since the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The military has increasingly suppressed free speech by stripping local media companies of their licenses. The military has also restricted use of the internet.

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