Kenji Nagai, 50, who was working for the Tokyo-based video and photo agency APF News, was killed by Burmese troops cracking down on antigovernment demonstrations in Rangoon, according to official Japanese state-run television.
Nagai appeared to be deliberately targeted by a Burmese soldier, according to video footage shown on Japan’s Fuji News Network. The footage shows Nagai filming near a group of demonstrators before being pushed to the ground and shot at near point-blank range. The Japanese embassy in Burma confirmed the killing and said that the path of the bullet through Nagai’s body was inconsistent with Burmese authorities’ claims that Nagai died as a result of a stray shot.
The journalist had entered Burma just three days before, according to media reports.
According to the Burma Media Association and Burmese exile-run news sources, the military government disconnected nearly all mobile phone services in Rangoon on September 27. The cuts took place at 3 p.m., coinciding with the time when security forces confronted and opened fire on Buddhist monk demonstrators at Sule Pagoda in central Rangoon.
Ten people were killed in the September 27 crackdown, according to the government; diplomatic sources cited in news reports said the death toll was higher.
Troops were seen clearing demonstrators from the streets, telling protestors to leave within 10 minutes before they would open fire.