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A Japanese freelance journalist detained by security forces in Myanmar since mid-April was indicted Monday on a charge of spreading what the military junta views as “fake news,” the Japanese Embassy in the Southeast Asian country said.

Yuki Kitazumi has shown no health problems, a Japanese Embassy official said. | KYODO
Yuki Kitazumi has shown no health problems, a Japanese Embassy official said. | KYODO

Yuki Kitazumi, 45, could face a jail term of up to three years if convicted under the penal code as amended after the February coup.

Kitazumi was arrested and taken from his home in Myanmar’s largest city Yangon on April 18. He is being held in a Yangon prison known for housing political prisoners.

The journalist has shown no health problems, an embassy official said, adding that the embassy will continue to urge the military government to release him.

His arrest came amid ongoing protests against the military, which took control of the government in a coup on Feb. 1 by ousting the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s top government spokesman, demanded during a regular briefing on April 20 that the security forces in Myanmar release Kitazumi.

The journalist, who previously worked at the Tokyo-based Nikkei business daily, had covered anti-government protests and posted online through such means as social media information deemed to be critical of the military.

He was also briefly detained by security forces while covering a protest in Yangon on Feb. 26.

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