Sun 30 Sep 2007
Filed under: News,Regional
A Japanese official left for Burma on Sunday to press the military government to take steps toward democracy and to protest the killing of a Japanese journalist during a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka was expected to arrive in Rangoon by Sunday evening, according to a Foreign Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing policy.
Officials were arranging meetings with Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win and Home Affairs Minister Maj-Gen Maung Oo, Kyodo News agency reported. The ministry official could not confirm the report.
Yabunaka’s visit comes after Kenji Nagai, 50, was killed Thursday when soldiers fired automatic weapons into a crowd of demonstrators.
A video broadcast by Japan’s Fuji Television Network appeared to show a soldier shooting him directly from the front.
Doctors at a Rangoon hospital briefed Toru Yamaji-head of APF News, which Nagai worked for-after an autopsy. They said a bullet pierced his body from the left side of his back and several ribs were broken, said the APF’s Sayaka Kobayashi.
During his visit, Yabunaka will press the junta to respond to concerns raised by the international community over its crackdown and urge the government make progress toward democratization, officials have said.
The generals have a long history of snuffing out dissent. The army and police started cracking down Wednesday when the first of at least 10 deaths was reported. They let loose again Thursday, shooting into a crowd and clubbing demonstrators with batons.
Japan lodged a protest over the killing of the journalist with Burma on Friday when Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura met with his counterpart Nyan Win at UN headquarters in New York.
Nyan Win said he was “extremely sorry” for Nagai’s death, Komura told reporters after the meeting.