Detained Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota faces charges of incitement and violations of visa and immigration rules for his alleged connections with anti-regime protesters, according to the junta’s information ministry.
The 26-year-old was detained on Saturday in South Dagon Township, Yangon, along with two protesters, while documenting an anti-regime rally against the executions of four pro-democracy activists.
He entered Myanmar through Thailand with a tourist visa on July 1 and contacted protesters on July 29, the ministry’s statement said.
Kubota had been charged with incitement under 505(a) of the Penal Code and for breaching visa rules under Article 13 of the Immigration Act. The charges of incitement carry up to three years in prison and violating the Immigration Act carries up to five years.
No details were given about the two protesters arrested with him.
A Japanese government representative on Sunday said Tokyo was calling for Kubota’s release.
A small crowd gathered outside the foreign ministry in Tokyo on Sunday to demand his release.
Since the 2021 coup, the regime has targeted journalists with arrests, lawsuits, raids on newsrooms and violence to suppress coverage of junta atrocities.
More than 130 journalists have been detained since the coup. Many of them were charged with incitement and contacting illegal organizations. Kubota is the fifth foreign journalist arrested by the junta. The previous four have been released.
Last year Japanese filmmaker Yuki Kitazumi was detained while covering Myanmar. Under international pressure, he was released and returned to Japan in May 2021 after 25 days in detention.
Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai was killed at point-blank range while he was covering protests in Myanmar, during firing on protesters during the Saffron Revolution led by Buddhist monks in 2007.