Since seizing power by coup d’etat on February 1, 2021, the Myanmar military has continuously engaged in severe oppression of citizens who have been demanding democracy and freedom. For one year (as of February 1, 2022), more than 1,500 people, including children, have been killed; nearly 12,000 people have been unlawfully arrested; and nearly 9,000 people are still detained. Ethnic minority populations have been subject to not only attacks by the military but also fighting between the military and ethnic armed organizations, resulting in more than 400,000 people, at least, being internally displaced throughout the country since the coup d’etat. Unless the violence perpetrated by the military is stopped, the number of victims and internally displaced people will continue to rise.
For Myanmar, Japan is one of the greatest providers of assistance. In terms of bilateral loan aids alone, Japan has committed nearly one trillion yen for various infrastructure projects since 2012, including those related to the Thilawa Special Economic Zone. Furthermore, other public funds have been used to invest in or lend to private-sector projects, enabling the public and private-sector in Japan to also engage in various businesses in Myanmar. However, there is the possibility that some of these aid projects and businesses are benefiting the Myanmar military.
FoE Japan, together with other Japanese NGOs, are urging the Japanese government, who is continuing its economic cooperation to Myanmar, and Japanese companies, who are continuing their business in Myanmar, to completely cut off sources of funding to Myanmar’s military to prevent Japanese funds from supporting the violence committed by the military.