(Bangkok) The camera of a Japanese journalist killed in Burma in 2007 has been returned to his family sixteen years after the tragedy, along with the last images he had filmed before his death.
The camera was handed over to his family on Wednesday by journalists from Myanmar Democratic Voice of Burma. Its editor, Aye Chan Naing, said only that it came from “a good citizen who knows the difference between good and bad”.
The owner of the camera, Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai, an employee of APF News, a small agency based in Tokyo, was shot dead by Burmese troops while covering protests by monks against the military junta.
His video camera had then disappeared, as well as the last images he had filmed, on September 27, 2007, shortly before losing his life.
These, taken from the camera, were made public for the first time on Wednesday at the Foreign Press Center in Bangkok.
They show a crowd of protesters bowing to monks in central Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, to police and soldiers with riot shields and guns.
The camera films the army deploying in the area. “The army has just arrived. The army is there. They are heavily armed”, are the last words uttered by the journalist.
A photo of Nagai showing him lying on the road and being pointed at by a uniformed soldier won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008.
Nagai’s sister, Noriko Ogawa, said Wednesday that she was “overjoyed” after losing hope of getting the camera and the final footage back.
“I think my brother was also waiting for this day,” she said, indicating that she would carry the device to his grave.
Burmese authorities had described the journalist’s death as an “accident”. But an autopsy carried out in Japan revealed that he had probably been shot at point-blank range.
“We will continue to demand that the Burmese government reveal the truth,” pledged Kenji Nagai’s sister.