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Japanese journalist shot dead at close range

world Updated: Sep 28, 2007 22:33 IST

AFP
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Myanmar troops shoved down a Japanese journalist and shot him dead at close range, television footage broadcast on Friday appeared to show.



Japan's Fuji Television showed footage of soldiers charging after demonstrators on Thursday clamped down on protests in Myanmar's commercial hub Yangon.



A helmeted soldier appeared to push to the ground a man identified as video-journalist Kenji Nagai, who was wearing knee-length shorts and sandals.



As the man lies sprawled on his back, clutching his video camera in his right hand, a loud bang is heard, with a soldier pointing a rifle right in front of him.



The soldier then races on chasing after demonstrators.



Fuji Television said the footage showed that Nagai was killed intentionally, not by a stray bullet.



"This soldier probably pushed Nagai first. This soldier then seemed to shoot him, judging from the angle of his gun," Koichi Ito, a former member of the Japanese police's special rapid attack squad, told the private network, which did not say how it obtained the footage.



Nagai, 50, a video-journalist for Tokyo-based APF News, who had years of experience covering dangerous hotspots, was the first foreigner killed in Myanmar's crackdown.



Japan, which has cordial relations with Myanmar, has said it will protest the killing and investigate if he was killed intentionally. But it said it will not cut off aid to the military-run nation.



Chief government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura said on Friday that a Japanese embassy doctor confirmed a bullet entered Nagai's body from the lower right side of his chest, pierced his heart and exited from his back.