KILIS, Turkey--Japanese war correspondent Mika Yamamoto, who was killed Aug. 20 while covering the conflict in Syria, suffered massive blood loss caused by gunshot wounds to her back and spine, according to a judicial autopsy carried out by Turkish authorities.
Results of the autopsy were revealed Aug. 22 by her partner and boss Kazutaka Sato, 56, who was working with the 45-year-old Yamamoto in Aleppo, northern Syria. The two were covering the civil war for The Japan Press, an independent news provider.
Sato criticized the autopsy for failing to give a specific cause of death. Authorities concluded only that there was a high probability she died of blood loss.
"The judicial autopsy was too simple," he said. "I want to know in detail the cause of her death and exactly how she was struck by those bullets. But I also want to return her body to Japan as soon as possible so that she can be with her parents."
The autopsy was performed in a facility in Adana, southern Turkey, over the course of about an hour on the morning of Aug. 22. According to the autopsy, bones in and around Yamamoto's spine had been seriously damaged, and ruptured arteries caused massive internal bleeding.
The autopsy also found metal fragments in her body, but specifics on precisely where and number of those fragments were not immediately available. Sato, however, said he thinks those fragments are from bullets even though Yamamoto was wearing a bulletproof jacket.
Her body is currently being held at a hospital in Kilis, also in southern Turkey. It is scheduled to be transferred by air to Istanbul on Aug. 23, where her sisters are awaiting its arrival.
Sato plans to accompany the body from Istanbul to Japan as early as Aug. 24.
"We want to return home the same way we came here, together as always," Sato said.
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