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Journalist held by Myanmar urges Japan to pressure junta

November 29, 2022

TOKYO: A Japanese journalist released from Myanmar in a prisoner amnesty called on Monday for Tokyo to put more pressure on the junta and accept refugees fleeing the Southeast Asian country.

Toru Kubota spent three-and-a-half months in prison after being detained near an anti-government rally in Yangon in July along with two Myanmar citizens. Thousands of people have been jailed during a bloody crackdown on dissent in Myanmar since a military coup in February 2021.

Kubota, 26, was sentenced to seven years in jail for filming an anti-coup protest and also received a three-year sentence for violating Myanmar´s immigration laws. He was released on November 18 along with thousands of other prisoners, including former British ambassador Vicky Bowman and Australian economist Sean Turnell, an adviser to ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Kubota urged Japan, which has long been a major donor and investor, “to take a strong proactive approach to human rights violations in Myanmar and also to more proactively criticise Myanmar for that”.