politics

Japan should not follow Western policy on Myanmar: Diplomat op-ed

19 Comments

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You cannot be treated as an advanced country by others if you support terrorist or military takeovers

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Corporate greed over human life. Watanabe has no problem with that. He wouldn’t have risen to his level of power if he did.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

So you oversaw the mass-murder, rape and displacement of an ethnic minority, destroyed a budding democracy and murdered your own people when they objected.

What’s a few humans among friends? Let’s leave economic ties in tact (so that we can be there on the re-bound).

This sickens me.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"Leveraging its decades-long economic cooperation, Japan can now directly work with the Tatmadaw to reverse China’s geoeconomic influence," Watanabe added, also warning of Russia's growing influence in Myanmar.

Yeah, we'll throw the people of Myanmar under the bus so we can maintain our exploitation of their country.

How do these people sleep at night?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

 a private group...launched to rally support for the wave of Japan's investment in the Southeast Asian country.

Well, that says it all. The Japanese only care about themselves, yet so often they concoct narratives trying to convince us that their greedy and callus actions are beneficial to all.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Well written article. Japan should remained engage with the Myanmar government. Japan should pour investment in the country.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The thousand-year feudalistic follow-the-leader (me) mindset of Japanese officialdom still stands in the way of democracy and progress and sends a poor message to the peoples of less economically developed Asian nations who are yearning for more freedom and modernization of their societies. What on earth are these Japanese officials thinking? - "What would Tojo do?"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Any drastic move to cut ties with Myanmar's military could result in China winning more influence, a senior Japanese official told Reuters in February after the coup.

This is a good point, you need to de-escalate the situation in a controlled manner because otherwise you could well make it worse

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Well, that says it all. The Japanese only care about themselves,

Greedy business owners come in every nationality. Don't condemn the whole of Japan because they have some greedy business people. Too many good Japanese to let that stand.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan should stop being two faced. The US has had enough. It is why they banned Uniqlo from the US market.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

As a Burma specialist who has written articles on Burma-Japan relations, I think this a complex issue which cannot be resolved either through the moral stance of most supporters of the Burmese democracy movement outside the country ("Japan, quit Burma!") or the pragmatism (opportunism) of Japan's bureaucrats who think they can act as a "bridge" between the Burmese military and the democratic West. Their opinion is pure bullish*t. It hasn't worked at all in the past. The top brass in the military regime are going to do what they want, and nothing else, as long as they have the approval of China and other neighboring countries. China gives them a blank check, so no matter what Japan does, they will continue shooting unarmed protesters, clearing people off their ancestral lands, spoiling the environment and wrecking the livelihoods of millions of people.

During 1988-2011, when the State Peace and Development/State Law and Order Restoration Council junta was in power, Western countries imposed strict sanctions which harmed ordinary working people, not the China-funded generals. The 2003 Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, passed by the US Congress after pro-regime thugs attacked Aung San Suu Kyi in Upper Burma, is reported to have cost thousands of jobs for women working in textile factories; many of these women had no other alternative but to work in the sex industry to support their families.

Sanctions don't work in Burma because there are so many ways the regime can get around them. But Japan should improve the quality of aid, giving more grants than loans and concentrating on humanitarian, environmental and human capital projects rather than huge infrastructure projects (which Japanese construction companies adore). There is no clear cut moral answer to how to respond to the latest political crisis in Burma, but Japanese aid could be useful in helping people on the ground.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The junta have murdered hundreds of their citizens, imprisoning and torturing many more.

People who voluntarily work with the junta are no better than the junta. Just as those who voluntarily worked with the Nazis were no better than the Nazis.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

You cannot be treated as an advanced country by others if you support terrorist or military takeovers

Not the motto of the CIA.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

He's not wrong about China filling the vacuum in Myanmar.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"...after all, there's still a lot of money on the table...", said Watanabe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yes, and that makes him standing on the bridge and his association then very famous , important and well-paid. lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but Japanese aid could be useful in helping people on the ground.

The problem is...... this aid never makes it past whatever dictator, junta that is in place. Even when you have people on the ground to ensure the aid is properly distributed, only the press photo op morsel makes it. The rest of the aid turns south immediately after leaving the gate.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Money, money, money, money....money! ♬

2 ( +3 / -1 )

During 1988-2011, when the State Peace and Development/State Law and Order Restoration Council junta was in power, Western countries imposed strict sanctions which harmed ordinary working people, not the China-funded generals.

You claim to be a "Burma specialist" but your account of the relationship of the Tatmadaw to the PLA. I have followed events in Myanmar for decades too and the Tatmadaw as far as I can tell hates the PLA and hates China. The PLA provides material support and bases inside China for a couple independence seeking rebel armies in northern Myanmar. In 2009 the Myanmar Air Force conducted air strikes inside China against some of these rebel bases. The Tatmadaw claims one of the reasons they overthrew the elected government was that it had become too close to China. How do you respond to this?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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