Just days after the tragic death of Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto in Syria, her news agency, Japan Press, has released some of the last video footage captured by her and her partner, Kazutaka Sato. Yamamoto was shot and killed in the city of Aleppo on Monday, August 20th, in a confrontation between rebels and soldiers. At 45, Yamamoto was experienced in covering wars, and served as a correspondent in numerous conflict zones like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Uganda. Mika’s father, Koji, a retired journalist, said that she strived to tell the story of vulnerable women and children suffering in war zones.
The two following videos were released by Japan Press, and have been published with English subtitles by The Telegraph. In the first we see that Yamamoto and Sato were traveling with Syrian rebel fighters, engaged in a civil war with the totalitarian government. This was the pair’s first time covering the conflict in Syria, and the footage shown of them inside the city was taken just before they were caught in crossfire.
The second video is the final reflections and thoughts of Kazutaka Sato, who was not just Yamamoto’s partner, but also her common-law husband. He is clearly distraught at having lost his wife and most loyal colleague who covered some of the world’s worst conditions with him. In a recent interview, Sato said that he was “fully responsible” for failing to protect her. The video shows Sato explaining how Yamamoto was only a few meters away from him when she was shot, and sadly ends with him saying that he is unable to explain in words all his feelings.
There is one final video I would like to share, but must warn that it is GRAPHIC and not safe for all ages. Syrian activists recorded Sato overlooking Yamamoto’s body at the hospital where they attempted to save her. As he leans close and presses his cheek against hers, he quietly utters “Why? You are wearing a flak jacket”, and when looking at her wound, he adds “That must hurt. Did you suffer?” This video is short, and does not contain the splashy blood and gore that you would find in a Hollywood movie, but you are able to CLEARLY SEE the severe wound to Yamamoto’s arm that was the cause of her death. If you think you can stand it, I would recommend watching.[via The Lede]