A recording showing the last moments of a Japanese journalist killed while covering the “saffron revolution” in Myanmar has been made public 15 years after his death. A camera containing footage captured by reporter Kenji Nagai just before his death was given to his sister. “We want the truth to be clarified and come to light,” the woman said.
The footage was made public on Wednesday during a meeting of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Bangkok. The sister of the killed journalist, Noriko Ogawa, attended the event. A video camera recorded by 50-year-old journalist and photojournalist Kenji Nagai just before his death was obtained by Burmese independent news station DVB just before the 2021 military coup d’état in Myanmar. On Wednesday, she was handed over to her owner’s sister.
Aye Chan Naing, co-founder of DVB, declined to say how the organization came into possession of the device. He said it was for the safety of those involved.
Death during the protests
Kenji Nagai, 50, came to Rangoon to cover the protests there in 2007, which were brutally suppressed by the military and security forces. The footage from his camera shows crowds of demonstrators on the street. The journalist also recorded the moment of the arrival of the truck with the soldiers.
Soon after, the army opened fire on the protesters. As reported by the Reuters agency, the recording shows how one of the soldiers pointed a rifle at the Japanese journalist and photojournalist, who fell to the ground moments later. Kenji Nagai was the first foreigner to die during the protests later dubbed the “saffron revolution”.
Myanmar authorities said the man was shot accidentally.
“We want the truth to be revealed”
– I hope that the release of the video will again draw attention to the situation in Myanmar. I hope people around the world will feel that something needs to be done,” the journalist’s sister, Noriko Ogawa, told the media in Bangkok.
She reported that the camera containing the footage would be returned to Japan where it would be thoroughly examined. She expressed the hope that this would help to establish the exact circumstances of her brother’s death.
“We want the truth to be clarified and come to light,” she added.
“Saffron Revolution” in Myanmar
The “Saffron Revolution” that broke out in Myanmar in August 2007 was one of the largest democratic uprisings against military rule in decades.
The first demonstrations broke out in Rangoon, and their starting point was the increase in fuel prices. The students who led the protests were supported by Buddhist monks. The authorities brutally suppressed the demonstrations. Burmese security forces then arrested thousands of people. At least 31 people are estimated to have died, Reuters reported.
Although the “Sharan revolution” was suppressed, it started a process of gradually loosening the military dictatorship and transferring power to civilians. This process was interrupted on February 1, 2021 as a result of a military coup d’état.
Main photo source: Reuters