Camera of Slain Japanese Journalist Returned to His Grave

Yomiuri Shimbun photo
The late Kenji Nagai’s video camera and videotape are seen in front of his grave in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, on Sunday.

IMABARI, Ehime — The sister of video journalist Kenji Nagai, who was killed in Myanmar in 2007, has visited his grave to tell Nagai that the video camera he was carrying at the time of his death has been returned.

Nagai was shot dead by Myanmar security forces while covering a protest against that nation’s military regime in September 2007. He was 50 years old.

His video camera was acquired by Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), an independent news organization in Myanmar. It was given to Nagai’s younger sister, Noriko Ogawa, in Bangkok in late April.

On Sunday, Ogawa placed the camera and a videotape in front of Nagai’s grave in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, where there is a stone monument resembling the camera he was holding when he was fatally shot. Then she offered him a prayer.

After Nagai’s death, Ogawa asked The Metropolitan Police Department and the Foreign Ministry for cooperation in finding and recovering the video camera.

“It’s finally come here,” Ogawa said, looking relieved. “Our wish has been realized thanks to everyone who cooperated with us in a signature-collecting campaign and other activities. I think my brother is relieved, too.”

The camera contained video footage of the protest apparently captured by Nagai shortly before his death. According to Ogawa, there are signs of overwriting on another section of the tape.

She is planning to submit the video camera and the tape to the department on May 25 to have the images analyzed.

“I hope the video analysis will help find the truth [about my brother’s death]. I also hope more people will be concerned about the political situation in Myanmar,” Ogawa said.

Yomiuri Shimbun photo
Noriko Ogawa prays in front of the grave of her brother, Kenji Nagai, in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, on Sunday, after placing his video camera at the grave.