Japanese national detained in Myanmar

Activists hold placards of detained Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota at a rally in Tokyo on July 31, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (AFP, REUTERS) - A Japanese man has been detained in Myanmar after filming a protest in the country's biggest city of Yangon, Jiji news agency reported on Sunday (July 31), citing Japanese government officials.

The report did not name the man but said he is in his 20s.

The Japanese embassy in Myanmar has called for his release.

Some local media reports named the man as documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota.

They said he was detained in the South Dagon area of Yangon on Saturday along with two others at a protest against the recent execution of four activists by military authorities.

"I can confirm a Japanese national was detained yesterday in Yangon," an official at the Japanese embassy told AFP on Sunday, requesting anonymity.

The embassy is "in contact with the authorities and taking measures to secure their release".

A junta spokesperson was not available for comment.

Last year, Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi was arrested in Myanmar and charged with spreading false news during a crackdown on media after a military coup in February.

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

The military coup last year sparked rolling protests and a deadly response from the junta.

More than 2,000 people have been killed and at least 14,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group.

Several foreigners have been arrested in the military's crackdown on dissent since the putsch.

Myanmar's junta has clamped down on press freedoms, arresting reporters and photographers, as well as revoking broadcasting licences.

As of March this year, 48 journalists remain in custody across the country, according to monitoring group Reporting ASEAN.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.