Meeting between Mr. Hitoshi Kimura, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador U Hla Myint of Myanmar
May 13, 2008
On May 13 (Tue), Mr. Hitoshi Kimura, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, met with Ambassador U Hla Myint of Myanmar for about one hour from 16:00. The gist of the meeting is as follows:
1. Mr. Kimura said:
(1) Japan expresses its heartfelt sympathy for the disaster caused by the cyclone and the more than ten thousand victims.
(2) Japan made an early decision to provide emergency relief goods equivalent to about 64 million yen, and they have already arrived at Yangon. As the damage caused by the cyclone was found to be much more disastrous than expected, the Government of Japan decided on May 9 to provide emergency assistance equivalent to 10 million US dollars as an interim measure. Japan will decide the contents of the assistance after consulting with the Government of Myanmar and agencies of the United Nations. Japan has also provided financial assistance to NGOs which are working in Myanmar.
(3) Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister of Japan, sent a letter on May 9 to Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of Myanmar's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The letter says that Japan is ready to dispatch an emergency medical team to Myanmar. Since Japan regards it as important for Myanmar to accept aid teams from Japan and other countries in a view of the urgency of the situation, Japan will be grateful if the Ambassador could deliver this message to officials in Yangon to take it into consideration. As the number of the victims grows every day, Japan considers that an early decision is better.
2. In response, Ambassador U Hla Myint spoke to following effect.
(1) On behalf of the Government and people of Myanmar, I would like to express my gratitude to the Government and people of Japan. Japan’s assistance goods arrived in Myanmar together with those from Thailand faster than those from other countries.
(2) The Government of Myanmar welcomes assistance from countries and international organizations. As the cyclone-hit areas have not yet finished preparations to receive personnel assistance and our country has many local Myanmar volunteers, we have not yet started to accept foreign personnel completely. But this does not necessarily mean that we do not accept aid workers. For example, we have issued visas for those related to the U.N. and NGOs in order of precedence.
(3) I will convey to the Government of Myanmar what Mr. Kimura has said.