Japan’s envoy speaks with filmmaker detained in Myanmar: Govt. official

Protesters walk through a market with posters of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Kamayut township in Yangon, Myanmar, April 8, 2021. (AP Photo, File)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s ambassador to Myanmar spoke by phone with a Japanese documentary filmmaker detained in the country and confirmed he was in good health, a Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said Monday. foreign.

Toru Kubota was arrested in Yangon on July 30 while filming a protest against Myanmar’s ruling military. He was jailed for his alleged involvement in the protest and charged with sedition and immigration violation.

During Kubota’s phone conversation with Ambassador Ichiro Maruyama, the Japanese filmmaker’s first direct contact with the Japanese government since his detention, he said he had not been treated inappropriately, according to the manager.

Maruyama told Kubota, whose trial began earlier this month, that the Japanese government will help him by providing him with a lawyer and offering him other assistance.

While the Japanese embassy in Myanmar asked the military government to allow a meeting with Kubota, the junta rejected it, citing COVID-19 restrictions and other reasons, the senior official said.

Japan urged Myanmar to release Kubota as soon as possible. But the military government said the decision on him would be made by the relevant court.

Kubota entered Myanmar last month from neighboring Thailand on a tourist visa and contacted protesters to find out where they would gather for a demonstration.

Myanmar has been under military rule since a February 2021 coup that toppled the democratically elected government of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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