The Japanese ambassador to Myanmar spoke with a Japanese journalist detained in the country by phone on Friday and confirmed that he is in good health, an embassy official said.

Yuki Kitazumi, 45, was arrested and taken from his home in Myanmar's largest city Yangon on Sunday and is being held in prison for allegedly spreading "fake news" after covering protests against the military that seized power in a February coup.

Yuki Kitazumi. (Kyodo)


The Yangon prison where he is being held is known for housing political prisoners.

During the phone conversation with Ambassador Ichiro Maruyama on Friday afternoon, the first direct contact with him since his arrest, Kitazumi said, "I have not been treated improperly," according to the official.

The embassy called for Myanmar authorities to release him soon, the official said, adding that no in-person meeting was granted due to anti-coronavirus measures.

A freelance journalist who previously worked at the Tokyo-based Nikkei business daily, Kitazumi has been writing about the protests for Japanese media outlets and posting about the situation on social media.

He was also briefly detained by security forces while covering a protest in Yangon on Feb. 26.