The Japanese government on Tuesday, April 20, protested to Myanmar over the detention of Japanese freelance journalist Yuki Kitazumi, who wrote about the Yangon protests. This was announced at a press conference in Tokyo by the General Secretary of the Japanese Cabinet of Ministers Katsunobu Kato, according to the Nikkei newspaper.
“It is unacceptable for us to keep him in custody. In this regard, we protested to the Myanmar side and demand his early release, ”he said.
According to the newspaper, with which the 45-year-old journalist collaborated, Kitazumi was detained on April 19 near the house where he lived, and he was also searched. The journalist is currently in prison on charges of spreading false information about what is happening in Myanmar. If convicted, he can be sentenced to imprisonment for up to three years.
On April 17, three improvised explosive devices detonated at the General Administration Department office in Yangon. The military has been based there since March. As a result of the explosions, at least three servicemen were injured, one of them is in critical condition.
In early April, the United Nations (UN) announced the deaths of more than 560 people since the beginning of the protests in Myanmar. The organization expressed concern about the ongoing violence in the state. As noted by the representative of the UN Secretary General Stefan Dujarrick, the real data on the victims may be higher.
In late March, the Kremlin also expressed concern about the growing number of civilian casualties in Myanmar.
Since the beginning of February, protests have not abated in Myanmar after the military coup, during which state power was transferred into the hands of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, General Hlein. President Vin Myin and State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi were detained. The move came after several days of escalating tensions between the government and the military, which did not recognize the results of the November elections in the country.
The organizers of the coup d’etat declared a state of emergency in the country for a period of one year. Protesters took to the streets calling for the reestablishment of a civilian government under Aung San Suu Kyi and a return to democratic reforms.