Fallen journalist’s body flown home

Kyodo

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.