(AFP) – Sep 27, 2007
YANGON (AFP) — A Japanese journalist was shot and killed in Myanmar Thursday, becoming the first foreign victim of the violent crackdown on anti-government protests, officials and his employer said.
International media rights group Reporters Without Borders said it was "appalled" at the death of 50-year-old Kenji Nagai, a journalist with Tokyo-based video and photo agency APF News.
A company spokesman said Nagai had entered Myanmar two days ago on the eve of the bloody crackdown against mass protests led by Buddhist monks. He worked on a contract and had been sent to trouble spots in the past.
"The foreign ministry informed us today that the passport bearing the name of our journalist, Kenji Nagai, was found with the body and right now the foreign ministry is trying to make the final assertion it is him," he said.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders condemned the death, and said the ruling junta continued to disrupt communications in the isolated nation, disconnecting mobile phones and making blogs inaccessible.
"Despite these restrictions, pictures and reports continue to get out of the country thanks to the foreign journalists present there and to Burmese journalists," it said.
Myanmar's state media confirmed that a Japanese national was one of nine people killed in the country's biggest city, including eight protesters.
At least four people including three Buddhist monks were killed in Yangon on Wednesday as security forces attempted to crush growing anti-government protests.
Japan, which is a top donor to Myanmar, on Thursday summoned the regime's ambassador to protest against the crackdown.
"Something deplorable is happening there," Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told reporters before ambassador Saw Hla Min visited the Japanese foreign ministry.
"We must consider what on earth we should do to resolve the situation."
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