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Marking the seven anniversary of the Saffron Revolution on Saturday, Noriko Ogawa, the sister of slain Japanese photojournalist Kenji Nagai, has reiterated her call for an official investigation into his killing.
The family of Kenji Nagai, a reporter for Tokyo-based APF News, has constantly lobbied via the Japanese government to demand Burma turn over his videotape and camera, seized after the 50-year-old war correspondent was fatally gunned down at point-blank range by a soldier while covering the monk-led public protests in Rangoon on 27 September 2007.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry webpage regularly reports that diplomats, at each meeting with Burmese counterparts, have called for an investigation into the incident and the return of his professional possessions.
Tokyo suspended aid to Burma following the killing of Nagai, but resumed humanitarian funding a year later following the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in the Irrawaddy delta.
In January 2013, Japan forgave a considerable portion of Burma’s debts. A visit by Prime Minister Abe a few months later helped secure a further US$400 million in new loans, and the write off of even more of Burma’s debt. Japanese firms have since invested broadly in Burma, and are the main players in the site of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, east of Rangoon, with multinationals such as Mitsubishi, Marubeni and Sumitomo among the investors.
In the wake of the Japanese photojournalist’s death, a Kanji Nagai Journalism Award was founded for Burmese reporters.
An associate of Nagai’s said the 50-year-old veteran was “relentless” in his pursuit of stories. He had previously documented conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cambodia and Palestine.