Japanese man detained in Myanmar, government spokesman says

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A man in his 20s has reportedly been detained after filming a demonstration on July 30.

A Japanese government spokesman has confirmed the detention of a Japanese man in Myanmar, with Tokyo calling for his release as soon as possible.

Deputy Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told a news conference Monday that a Japanese man in his 20s had been detained after filming a demonstration on July 30.

Kihara said the Japanese embassy in Myanmar has put pressure on the governing council for the man’s release.

Kihara did not name the detainee, but Japanese media identified him as documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota.

Kubota has reported for outlets including Al Jazeera and VICE Japan that focus on ethnic conflict and refugee issues, according to his personal website.

According to Reporters Without Borders, at least 135 journalists have been detained in Myanmar since the coup.

Kubota would be the fifth foreign journalist to be detained, after US citizens Nathan Maung and Danny Fenster, and Robert Bociaga from Poland and Yuki Kitazumi from Japan. All four were eventually expelled from the country.

Myanmar has been mired in chaos since a military coup in February 2021 overthrew the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Violence has spread across the country since Major General Min Aung Hlaing’s military administration crushed mostly peaceful protests in cities.

Japan has been among a number of countries that have criticized the coup and its aftermath, most recently condemning the execution of four anti-coup activists last month.

Myanmar’s state media reported Monday that Min Aung Hlaing had extended the state of emergency in the country for six months, citing the need to strengthen the “genuine and disciplined multi-party system”.



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