Former Myanmar diplomat asks Japan not to legitimize junta at Abe’s funeral

Tokyo, Sep 25 (EFE).- A Myanmar diplomat dismissed by the military junta for his opposition to the coup has criticized Japan’s decision to invite the current Myanmar ambassador to the country to Shinzo Abe’s state funeral.

Aung Soe Moe, one of the diplomats that the Japanese government allowed to remain in the country after he was dismissed from Tokyo’s Myanmar embassy by the junta in 2021, said that allowing Ambassador Soe Han to attend Tuesday’s funeral would constitute de facto recognition of the military junta.

“What generals want is official recognition of their regime by the international community and to make the takeover of government a fait accompli,” said Aung Soe Moe, 53, at a press conference published Sunday by Kyodo news.

Citing the United Kingdom’s decision not to allow any of Myanmar’s delegation to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral as an example, the former diplomat said Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida should take a similar stance against the junta.

“We, Myanmar residents in Japan, have asked the Japanese foreign ministry not to invite anyone from the military to Mr Abe’s state funeral, a major international event,” he said.

“Japan did not invite (junta leader) Min Aung Hlaing, but it would not make much difference if the Kishida government allows the junta-appointed ambassador to attend this state-level event.”

Ever since he was expelled from his country’s delegation for joining the civil disobedience movement against the junta, Aung Soe Moe has been active in Japan in activities for the restoration of democracy in his home country.

Myanmar’s pro-democracy community in Japan says they do not understand why the government has invited a representative of a regime violently repressing its opponents to Abe’s state funeral and has asked him to reconsider.

Since the military’s arrest of leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected officials on Feb. 1, 2021, more than 2,300 people have been killed and some 15,000 arrested, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners

“We would like Japan to sever ties with the Myanmar military immediately,” Aung Soe Moe said, according to Kyodo.

Japan has condemned the coup and urged the junta to reverse course, but Tokyo has not recognized Myanmar’s so-called National Unity Government formed in April last year by representatives opposed to the military junta.

Abe died on July 8 after he was shot giving an election campaign speech in Nara, and Kishida has argued that the funeral is important as a show of defense of democracy. EFE


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