Japan government urged Myanmar authorities on Monday to release the journalist detained at a Yangon prison.

Myanmar authorities detained Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi on Sunday evening, one of at least 65 reporters arrested during the military junta’s crackdown on anti-coup protests.

BBC Burmese quoted a witness as saying freelance journalist Kitazumi was picked up from his home and taken into custody by troops on Sunday night. He was asked to raise both hands and was taken away in a car, it said.

Japan government spokesman described the journalist as a man in his forties, without naming him.

“We are seeking, from Myanmar, his quick release, and we are trying to secure the safety of Japanese nationals,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference. “As far as reasons for his arrest and detention, the Japanese embassy is working to learn those details.”

Kitazumi runs a media production company, Yangon Media Professionals, and used to be a journalist with the Nikkei business daily, according to his Facebook page and interviews with online media.

In February, he was beaten up and briefly held in custody during a crackdown on protesters but was later released.

Local monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said three reporters in Kachin State from the Myitkyina News Journal outlet were detained at an interrogation center.

“At these interrogation centers, detainees are forced to sign and confess under duress or through harsh torture,” AAPP said in its daily update on Monday.

According to the AAPP group, 737 people have been killed by forces since the coup and 3,229 remain in detention.

NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT: Meanwhile, Myanmar’s shadow government has urged Southeast Asian leaders to give it a seat at the table during crisis talks next week, and not to recognise the military rulers that seized power in February.

Military government leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is expected to join a special ASEAN summit on Myanmar on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia, his first official trip overseas since the coup that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Moe Zaw Oo, deputy minister for foreign affairs for the parallel National Unity Government, formed on Friday by overthrown politicians mostly from Suu Kyi’s party, as well as ethnic-minority politicians, said ASEAN had not reached out to them.

“If ASEAN wants to help solve the Myanmar situation, they are not going to achieve anything without consulting and negotiating with the NUG, which is supported by the people and has full legitimacy,” he told a US news outlet.

“It’s important that this military council is not recognised. This needs to be handled carefully.”

On Saturday, Thai foreign ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said several leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries, including Min Aung Hlaing, had confirmed they would attend the April 24 meeting in Jakarta.


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