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Myanmar accuses Japanese journalist of alleged false information

A Japanese journalist arrested in Myanmar has been charged with disseminating false information, the Japanese embassy said.

Yuki Kitazumi is believed to be the first known foreign journalist to be charged, and now faces three years in prison according to Japanese media.

He was arrested in April and has been in prison ever since.

More than 700 people have been killed and thousands detained since the Myanmar military staged a coup in February.

Mr. Kitazumi, who worked as a freelance journalist, had reported for many major Japanese media, appearing as a rare foreign reporter to the country.

The 45-year-old man was arrested on April 18 when police raided his home in the country’s main city, Yangon. He had already been briefly detained on February 26.

The Japanese embassy in the country said he had no health problems, but added that it was urging the military to release him.

In addition to covering the coup and the protests and assassinations that followed for Japanese newspapers and broadcasters, Mr. Kitazumi also posted articles about the situation on his social media accounts.

On April 12, for example, he described a student demonstration and praised their courage.

“A lot of them are young people. What did these kids do wrong?” he asked on Facebook.

“Citizens put their lives in danger to prevent this kind of injustice from continuing in society.”

Protesters in Yangon

Mass protests have taken place across Myanmar since the military deposed the elected government and declared a one-year state of emergency.

Throughout the months of protests, authorities cracked down on protesters as well as press freedom. Local journalists have often been detained for their reporting, and many remain in detention.

The armed forces justified their seizure of power by alleging that there had been widespread fraud in a general election late last year that returned elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party to power. the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Instead, the military promised it would hold “free and fair” elections once the state of emergency is over.

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