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Video Shows Japanese Journalist Shot at Close Range in Burma


Japanese television is airing a video that shows a Burmese soldier firing at a Japanese journalist during Thursday's pro-democracy protests in Rangoon.

Pictures broadcast by the Fuji television network show a soldier pointing his rifle and shooting from close range. Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai was thrown to the ground, apparently shot in the chest. Later photographs of the scene indicate the 50-year-old man died there a short time later.

Burmese authorities originally said the Japanese victim was hit by a stray bullet. However, analysts who studied the video obtained by the Japanese network, from the Democratic Voice of Burma say the pictures squarely contradict the official version of events.

Japan's authorities have sent a senior diplomat to Burma to press for a full explanation of Nagai's death.

The pictures seen in Japan also have been posted on the Internet on youtube.

They show Burmese soldiers chasing protesters on Thursday near Rangoon's Sule Pagoda. Nagai, who had been filming the scene at the edge of the crowd, is suddenly thrown to the ground from a sidewalk at the sound of a bang. Lying on his back, apparently wounded and unable to get up, the journalist moves his arms up and down, still gripping a video camera in his hand, while a soldier points a rifle at him at point-blank range.

Nagai worked for the Japanese photo and video agency APF.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.