Japanese Outraged by Myanmar Death Caught on Tape

Japanese Outraged by Myanmar Death Caught on Tape

TOKYO -- "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic," according to Joseph Stalin. Despite the dubious source of the quote, its substance provides a telling insight into the way certain deaths are covered in the media.

This has been particularly true for the death of Japanese photojournalist Kenji Nagai, who was shot dead last week in Myanmar. The case has sparked outrage around the world and, unsurprisingly, has been extensively covered by the media in Japan.

At first there was uncertainty on how to treat the most striking element of the story -- the fact that the moment of Nagai's death was actually caught on camera. Japanese newspapers typically have a policy of not printing pictures of the dead. This was most clearly in evidence in the coverage of one English-language newspaper here. The paper initially ran the Reuters photo of a man lying sprawled on the ground, then, after subsequent reports made it clear the victim was Nagai, later ran the same picture with the man cropped out.

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