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One Japanese killed during Yangon protest

Yangon, September 27, 2007

The Myanmar government has told Japan's Embassy in Yangon that a Japanese national was killed on Thursday during the biggest democracy demonstrations in 20 years, a Foreign Ministry official said.

Myanmar's Foreign Ministry told the embassy the dead man had a Japanese passport on him, public broadcaster NHK said.

Diplomats were on their way to the hospital to investigate, the foreign ministry official said.

Yangon hospital sources earlier told Reuters that a photographer believed to be Japanese had been killed.

Japan's deputy foreign minister Hitoshi Kimura summoned Myanmar ambassador Hla Myint on Thursday to urge that the government exercise restraint in dealing with the demonstrations, after troops fired shots and hundreds of monks were detained.

Reports of the Japanese man's death came in as the two were meeting and Kimura asked that the matter be dealt with appropriately, a foreign ministry official said. The Myanmar ambassador said that the incident was regrettable, the official said.

Two Japanese reporters, meanwhile, were expelled from Yangon on Wednesday, an official at Japan's Kyodo news agency said.

Myanmar rarely issues working visas to journalists and Yangon's embassies around the world are known to keep blacklists of reporters who are routinely refused even tourist visas.

The two Bangkok-based reporters, Kazuya Endo of Kyodo and Koji Hirata of Japan's regional Chunichi Shimbun, were escorted to the airport by government officials before leaving the country on Wednesday, Kyodo said.

Myanmar's generals accused the foreign media on Thursday of publishing a "skyful of lies" about the crackdown on anti-junta protests in which Buddhist monks say five of their ranks were killed.

Hundreds of democracy activists protested outside the Myanmar embassy in Tokyo on Thursday. - Reuters   




Tags: protest | Myanmar | Yangon |

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