Myanmar authorities release detained Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi

Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi speaks during an interview in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan.

A Japanese journalist who was detained in Myanmar and charged with spreading false news during a crackdown on media after a military coup in February returned to Japan on Friday, according to Asahi TV.

Yuki Kitazumi, who was picked up from his home by troops and taken into custody in Yangon last month, arrived at Narita Airport outside Tokyo a little after 10:30 p.m., according to a broadcast on the channel.

Kitazumi, who runs a media company in Yangon, was arrested on April 19 for the second time since the coup. He was the first foreign journalist to be charged with spreading false news.

Myanmar’s state-run MRTV said earlier that Kitazumi had broken the law but would be released in recognition of Myanmar’s close relationship with Japan.

Japan was a big investor and source of technical help and development aid for Myanmar’s semi-civilian governments in the decade of political reform that followed the end of the last era of military rule in 2011.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, with the military struggling to impose order amid a groundswell of public anger at its overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government.

Many journalists are among the nearly 4,900 people who have been arrested, according to the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group.

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