A Burmese official has apologized for the death of a Japanese video journalist during anti-government protests after Japan strongly protested the incident, a Japanese news agency reported Saturday.

Kenji Nagai, 50, died after he was shot in the chest in Rangoon, the first foreign casualty of protests that have consumed the poor country, also known as Myanmar,for nearly two weeks.

In a meeting at UN headquarters in New York, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura told his Burmese counterpart Friday that the death of Nagai was "extremely regrettable and we will lodge a stern protest."

Japanese officials also said that they will send a senior official to Burma to press the government to respond to international concerns over the violence.

Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win responded with an apology.

"Demonstrations are beginning to calm down, and we would also like to exercise restraint," Nyan Win said, according tothe Japanese news agency Kyodo.

Tokyo has so far ruled out immediate sanctions against Burma, though Komura suggested tougher steps could be taken.

Burma's state media have reported 10 deathsduring the government's violentcrack down on protests, though international leaders have suggested the death toll could be two or three times that.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Fridayhe believes the death toll is "far greater" than the military regime is reporting.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks and their supporters have been arrested, carted away in trucks at night or beaten with batons in recent days, according to witnesses.

With files from the Associated Press