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Myanmar Crisis

Detained Japanese journalist in Myanmar 'not mistreated': embassy

Freelancer Yuki Kitazumi gives first update on condition after arrest over 'fake news'

Freelance journalist Yuki Kitazumi covered anti-coup protests in Myanmar before his arrest on Sunday.   © AP

BANGKOK -- Japanese freelance journalist Yuki Kitazumi remains unharmed after his detention by Myanmar security forces, the Japanese Embassy said Friday, marking the first update on his condition since the arrest nearly a week ago.

The 45-year-old Kitazumi told Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Maruyama in a call Friday that he has "not been mistreated" by authorities, and that there are no problems with his health, according to the embassy.

Kitazumi, a former Nikkei reporter, was arrested at his home in Yangon on Sunday on allegations of spreading fake news. He was transferred to the city's Insein Prison for questioning and remains under investigation.

"We will continue to petition Myanmar for his speedy release," the embassy said.

Before his arrest, Kitazumi reported on anti-coup protests and posted information on social media and other channels. He was previously detained on Feb. 26 while covering a demonstration -- becoming the first foreign journalist known to be arrested by the junta -- but released later that day.

Kitazumi worked as a Nikkei reporter from 2001 to 2012, and now runs a media production company in Yangon.

After seizing power in February, Myanmar's military revised the country's penal code to crack down on speech criticizing the armed forces or supporting the country's civil disobedience movement. Well over 3,000 people have been arrested by security forces since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights group.

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