Japan has called on Myanmar authorities to release a Japanese journalist in Yangon prison after at least 65 journalists were arrested during a junta investigation into anti-coup protests.
The military has stepped up its crackdown on dissent following the ouster of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, at least 737 civilians have been killed and the press is under increasing attack.
Freelance reporter Yuki Kitazumi was detained on Sunday, and a spokesman for the Japanese embassy confirmed that he had been transferred overnight from a police watchhouse to Insein Prison.
A spokesman said on Monday that Kitazumi had not yet been charged and that diplomats were seeking permission to visit him in prison.
Insein is notorious for political prisoners.
Katsunobu Kato, a spokesman for the Japanese government, told reporters: “We are calling on Myanmar to release the man early. We will do our best to protect the Japanese citizen.”
“As a reason for his arrest and detention, the Japanese embassy is working to learn these details.”
Kitazumi has been detained for the second time since the coup.
He was beaten and briefly detained during a protest rally in February, but was later released.
The press was caught red-handed by the junta as the military tightened control over the flow of information, reduced internet access, and revoked the licenses of five local media outlets
At least 34 journalists and photographers are in custody across Myanmar, according to the monitoring group’s report of ASEAN.
The local monitoring group Political Prisoners Support Association said three journalists from the Myitkyina News Journal outlet were detained at an interrogation center in the interrogation center.
The AAPP said in its daily update on Monday, “Prisoners in these interrogation centers are forced to sign and recognize through harsh or severe torture.”