Conflict & Justice

Mika Yamamoto: Japanese journalist killed in Syria


This picture, taken in 1998, and released on Aug. 21, 2012, by the Yamamoto family at their home in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture, shows Mika Yamamoto and her father Koji Yamamoto. Mika Yamamoto was killed in the north Syrian city of Aleppo.


Jiji Press

Japanese veteran war correspondent Mika Yamamoto was shot in the neck and killed, the Associated Press reported.

In a phone interview on Japanese TV news, reporter Kazutaka Sato, who was with Yamamoto, said she was most likely shot by Assad forces.

"We saw a group of people in camouflage fatigues coming toward us. They appeared to be government soldiers. They started random shooting. They were just 20, 30 meters away or even closer," Sato said.

Yamamoto, who had covered conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, was on assignment for The Japan Press in Aleppo, Syria, covering the civil war between President Assad's government forces and Free Syria Army rebel groups.

The Daily News quoted Syrian rebel Captain Ahmed Ghazali saying in Youtube video:

“We welcome any journalist who wants to enter Syria. We will secure their entry, but we are not responsible for the brutality of Assad’s forces against the media." 

"I hope that these countries that have not been moved by Syrian blood will be moved by the blood of their people," he added. 

In an interview, Yamamoto's father said his daughter "always stood against those with power and thought of as weak."

"Whenever she was out on a reporting trip, I prayed for her safety. That's all I could do as a parent," he said.