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Japanese citizen arrested in Myanmar

#Japanese #citizen #arrested #Myanmar

A Japanese man has been arrested in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon, a Japanese embassy official confirmed on Sunday, the latest foreigner to be caught in the junta-ruled nation.

A military coup last year sparked rolling protests and a deadly junta response that has killed more than 2,000 and arrested at least 14,000, according to a local monitoring group.

On Saturday, Japanese and local media said filmmaker Toru Kubota, 26, was arrested along with two Myanmar citizens near an anti-government rally.

“I can confirm that a Japanese national was arrested in Yangon yesterday,” a Japanese embassy official told AFP on Sunday, asking not to be identified.

The embassy was “in contact with the authorities and taking action to secure their release.”

The Japanese official, who did not confirm the identity of the person arrested, said they had no information on whether he was arrested during a protest.

A junta spokesman could not be reached for comment.

A small crowd gathered outside Japan’s Foreign Ministry in Tokyo on Sunday, holding placards of Kubota.

Several foreigners have been arrested in military crackdowns on dissidents since the coup.

Last year, Japanese filmmaker Yuki Kitazumi was arrested by Myanmar authorities while covering the aftermath of the coup.

Under international pressure, he was released and returned to Japan in May 2021.

Kitazumi expressed shock at Kubota’s imprisonment and said he hopes to be released “soon”.

“He’s a documentary filmmaker and there’s no reason to arrest him for collecting materials,” he said.

Myanmar’s junta has cracked down on press freedom, arresting reporters and photographers and revoking broadcasting licenses.

According to monitoring group Reporting ASEAN, 48 journalists have been in detention across the country since March this year.

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