Fallen journalist’s body flown home


The body of the journalist gunned down in Syria while covering the fighting there arrived Saturday at Narita International Airport.

Mika Yamamoto, 45, an award-winning freelance journalist, was shot dead Monday in the northern city of Aleppo during a clash believed to have been between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

Yamamoto’s corpse was brought back to Japan from Istanbul on a Turkish Airlines flight, accompanied by Kazutaka Sato, 56, a journalist who was covering the Syrian civil war with her and is reportedly her common-law husband.

“I’m glad to bring her back home, but I have no words to express that it has to be this way,” Sato said upon arrival.

“I try to think that she has left for a long reporting trip,” he said. “She was kind, had a strong sense of justice, and (was) a hard worker.”

Japanese police are planning to conduct an autopsy on the body Sunday and investigate the case as a homicide, using Penal Code provisions on crimes committed against Japanese overseas.