Japanese filmmaker held in Myanmar gets three more years in prison


Adds confirmation from Japan govt, Toyota's Myanmar plant

TOKYO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - A Myanmar court sentenced Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota to an additional three years in prison on Wednesday on charges of violating an immigration law, the Japanese government said, bringing the total term of his incarceration to 10 years.

Kubota, 26, was arrested in July at a protest in Myanmar's main city of Yangon. Last week, he was sentenced to three years in prison for sedition and seven years for violating a law on telecommunications.

His prison term from those two sentences handed down last week comes to seven years as they are to be served concurrently, a Japanese foreign ministry official said.

"The Japanese government will keep on asking the Myanmar side for an early release of Mr Kubota," the official said.

A junta spokesperson did not respond to calls seeking comment. The junta says Myanmar's courts are independent and those arrested are receiving due process.

Myanmar has been trapped in a spiral of violence since the military overthrew an elected government last year. The junta has arrested thousands including politicians, bureaucrats, students, journalists, and foreigners as it attempts to smother dissent.

A Japanese freelance journalist was arrested last year and charged with spreading false news in his coverage of anti-coup protests. He was later freed with the junta saying his release was in recognition of the two countries' close ties.

Japanese firms and multinationals have faced pressure to pull out of investments in Myanmar that are perceived to benefit the military but some delayed projects are resuming.

Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T said on Wednesday it had begun assembling cars at a new plant that had been put on hold for more than 19 months after the military coup and during the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Kaori Kaneko and Daniel Leussink; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Jacqueline Wong)


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