Japan-Myanmar Relations

Foreign Minister Kono Visits Myanmar

August 6, 2018
Japanese

On August 6, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, during his visit to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, paid a courtesy call on H.E. Mr. Win Myint, President, held a meeting and a joint press conference with H.E. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended a luncheon meeting hosted by H.E. Mr. Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for International Cooperation, held a meeting with H.E. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services, and held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor, in the capital Naypyitaw. The overview of the meetings is as follows.

1. Courtesy Call on President Win Myint

(1)

(a) In the beginning, President Win Myint welcomed the visit by Foreign Minister Kono, and stated that he believed this second visit by Foreign Minister Kono would be successful, that Japan and Myanmar had friendly and close relationship, and that friendship and cooperation between the people of the two countries were also developing.

(b) In response, Foreign Minister Kono expressed gratitude for receiving condolences for the damage caused by torrential rain in western Japan, conveyed his condolences to the people affected by the flooding in southern Myanmar, and stated that the Government of Japan had decided to provide water tanks and tents in response to the request by the Government of Myanmar. He also stated that he was aware that President Win Myint was taking the lead toward eliminating corruption and establishing the rule of law. He also said that Japan would continue to provide maximum support for democratic nation building of Myanmar, that peace and stability in Rakhine State was important for nation building of Myanmar, and that Japan would continue to support Myanmar’s efforts.

(2) Foreign Minister Kono stated that in order to support Myanmar’s democratic nation building, Japan was providing support in various areas including urban development in Yangon, road construction, and electricity so that the people of Myanmar could feel improvement of their lives, as well as that Japan was also continuing cooperation for creating environment for attracting more private investment in Myanmar.

(a) Regarding the situation in Rakhine State, emphasizing that the actions by the Government of Myanmar in the coming several months would be the key, Foreign Minister Kono stated that it was important to assure transparent investigation by the Independent Commission of Enquiry, appropriate closure of the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps around Sittwe in Rakhine State, cooperation with the UN agencies including commencement of their activities on the ground for enabling early repatriation of the displaced persons, and progress in creating environment for resettlement. Also, he conveyed that Japan would provide support in the planned resettlement sites, based on needs.

(b) In response, President Win Myint stated that the Independent Commission of Enquiry could conduct its activities with transparency, that he had been working on establishing the rule of law since the current administration was established, that all citizens must be treated fairly under the law, and that Myanmar was ready to cooperate with the UN agencies. He also expressed gratitude for Japan’s understanding on Myanmar’s efforts.

2. Meeting and Joint Press Conference with State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi

(1)

(a) In the beginning, Foreign Minister Kono expressed gratitude for receiving condolences for the damage caused by torrential rain in western Japan. He also conveyed his condolences to the people affected by the flooding in southern Myanmar, and stated that the Government of Japan had decided to provide water tanks and tents in response to the request from the Government of Myanmar. He also said that Japan would consistently implement assistance programs centering on urban development in Yangon, transportation, and electricity. He also stated that he was looking forward to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Japan to participate in the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting scheduled on October 8-9, 2018 in Tokyo.

(b) In response, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, stated that although both Myanmar and Japan were facing flood damage, both countries had mutual understanding and sympathy, and expressed gratitude for support from Japan. She also stated that development of Yangon was important for Myanmar’s development, and that she was looking forward to visiting Japan and participating in the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting in October.

(2)

(a) Foreign Minister Kono, regarding the situation in Rakhine State, emphasizing that the actions by the Government of Myanmar in the coming several months would be the key, stated the following five points; (i) that he welcomed the establishment of the Independent Commission of Enquiry that includes international members and expected that the commission would surely implement transparent investigation in a credible manner; (ii) that it was important to close IDP camps around Sittwe in Rakhine State, in an appropriate manner and make progress in their resettlement, initially of those with citizenship; (iii) that he appreciated the conclusion of the MOU with the UNHCR and the UNDP, and cooperation with these UN agencies was crucial; (iv) that he expected that the Government of Myanmar would construct houses swiftly in the process of creating environment for resettlement and that Japan was ready to provide items needed by each household in the planned resettlement sites; and (v) that he expected the Government of Myanmar to continue to hold briefings on the conditions of preparation for repatriation to the displaced persons in the camps in Bangladesh. He also explained the current status of Japan’s assistance in Rakhine State including power supply and school construction, and that Japan would coordinate its efforts in order to expand such assistance in Rakhine State.

(b) In response, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi stated that the Government of Myanmar was ready to cooperate with the activities of the Independent Commission of Enquiry, that it was necessary to ensure the safety of resettlement areas for appropriate closure of IDP camps around Sittwe, that regarding cooperation with the UN agencies it was important for both sides to take actions in accordance with the MOU signed by the Government of Myanmar, UNHCR and UNDP, and that the Government of Myanmar was committed to its implementation. She also responded that she understood the importance of the prompt implementation of the proposals offered by Minister Kono, and that the Government of Myanmar would put them in execution.

(3) Following the meeting, both Foreign Minister Kono and State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi held a joint press conference.

3. Luncheon Meeting Hosted by Union Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin

Foreign Minister Kono held frank discussion regarding the situation of Rakhine State with Union Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin, H.E. Mr. Soe Win, Union Minister for Planning and Finance, and H.E. Dr. Win Myat Aye, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

4. Meeting with Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing

(1) In the beginning, Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing stated that he was pleased to meet Foreign Minister Kono again, and that he placed importance on relations with Japan as Myanmar’s friend.

(2) Foreign Minister Kono stated that Japan was providing maximum support for democratic nation building of Myanmar, that peace and stability in Rakhine State was important for nation building of Myanmar, and that the Government of Japan would provide maximum support to the efforts by the Government of Myanmar for improving the situation in Rakhine State. In response, Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing stated that Myanmar would firmly promote its nation building in accordance with the will of the people, and expressed gratitude for Japan’s support on the Rakhine State issue.

(3) Regarding the Rakhine State issue, Foreign Minister Konoemphasized that the actions by the Government of Myanmar in the coming several months would be the key and urged the Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing to assure the Independent Commission of Enquiry’s credible investigation in a transparent manner, appropriate closure of the IDP camps around Sittwe in Rakhine State, cooperation with the UN agencies, progress in creating environment for resettlement including ensuring security. In response, Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing replied that the Myanmar Armed Forces would provide utmost support for the activities by the Independent Commission of Enquiry.

(4) Furthermore, regarding peace process in Myanmar, Foreign Minister Kono stated that Japan would continue to carry out development assistance in the areas where ceasefire has been already achieved and expected early signings of ceasefire agreements by the armed groups which have not signed them yet. He also stated that he would continue to support peace process with Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar. Also, regarding defense exchange and cooperation, he conveyed that Japan would continue to provide support in the areas including Japanese language education and capacity building. In response, Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing expressed his gratitude for the cooperation by Special Envoy Sasakawa, and stated that he aimed at bringing about peace to Myanmar as soon as possible.

5. Meeting with Union Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe

Foreign Minister Kono, sharing with Union Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe the various points regarding the situation of Rakhine State he had conveyed to State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi in the morning of the same day, held frank discussion on topics including the Independent Commission of Enquiry, creation of environment for resettlement for enabling repatriation of the displaced persons and cooperation with the UN.