Tokyo urges Burma to release Japanese journalist

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Yangon | Tokyo on Monday urged Burmese authorities to release a Japanese journalist arrested the day before in Burma, where dozens of reporters have been arrested since the February coup.

Since taking power, the Burmese junta has faced constant demonstrations to demand the return to democracy, which it has not hesitated to repress in the blood, killing at least 730 people. And the press is increasingly targeted by repression.

Freelance journalist Yuki Kitazumi was arrested on Sunday, and according to a Japanese embassy spokesperson he was transferred from a police station to Insein prison, known to house political prisoners.

The reporter has yet to be charged and diplomats are trying to get permission to visit him in prison, the spokesperson told AFP.

“We call on Burma to release this person as soon as possible. We will do our utmost to protect this Japanese national, ”Japanese government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told reporters.

“As for the reasons for the arrest and detention, the Japanese embassy is seeking information,” he added.

This is the second time that Mr. Kitazumi has been arrested since the coup. In February, he was briefly arrested during a riot police intervention against protesters.

The press has often been targeted by the security forces as the authorities try to control more information by restricting internet access or revoking the credentials of some Burmese media.

At least 65 journalists and photographers have been arrested since the putsch, including 34 who remain behind bars according to the ASEAN reporting organization.

The Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (AAAP) said three reporters from Kachin State, working for the Myitkyina News Journal, were being held in an interrogation center.

“In these centers, detainees are forced to make and sign confessions, sometimes under torture,” AAAP said.