Japan seeks release of journalist detained in Myanmar

Japan has asked Myanmar authorities to release a Japanese journalist in custody at a Yangon prison, one of at least 65 reporters arrested during the junta’s crackdown on anti-coup protests.

The military has ramped up its attempts to crush dissent following mass demonstrations against its ousting of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, with at least 737 civilians killed and the press increasingly under attack.

Freelance reporter Yuki Kitazumi was detained on Sunday, and a Japanese embassy spokesman confirmed that he was transferred overnight from a police watchhouse to the Insein prison.

Kitazumi has not been charged yet and diplomats are seeking permission to visit him in jail, the spokesman said on Monday.

Insein is notorious for holding political prisoners.

In February, Kitazumi was beaten up and briefly held in custody during a crackdown on protesters but was later released.

The press has been caught in the junta’s crackdown as the military attempts to tighten control over the flow of information, throttling internet access and revoking the licenses of five local media outlets.

At least 34 journalists and photographers remain in custody across Myanmar, according to monitoring group Reporting Asean.

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