Japan refuses to grant visa to junta-backed Myanmar diplomats

Tokyo, Aug 22 (EFE).- Japan refused to issue visas for two Myanmar diplomats appointed by the military junta, which seeks to replace them with two members of the embassy in Tokyo fired in March, Kyodo news agency reported Sunday.

Issuing the diplomatic visas would mean recognizing the Feb. 1 military coup that seized power from the elected civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains detained. Anti-junta demonstrations have been violently repressed by military forces.

Japan does not recognize the junta as a legitimate governing body.

The junta asked Japan to issue visas for its two diplomats. Although the country said it is “considering” the petition, it has not started the issuance procedures, sources with knowledge of the case told Kyodo.

Meanwhile, Tokyo continues to recognize the diplomatic status of the two Myanmar officials fired by the junta a month after the coup after boycotting their embassy duties in protest. The coup leaders asked that their passports be invalidated.

But Tokyo has allowed both of them to remain in Japan, even after their diplomatic record expired in July.

Both collaborate with the self-styled Government of National Unity, a group opposed to the military junta and formed after the coup.

Japan is one of the countries that have called for the immediate release of Suu Kyi, other members of the former ruling party, and civilians detained during the junta’s crackdown.

However, Tokyo remains cautious in its position around Myanmar, a country with which it maintains a close economic relationship and influence. Japan has refrained from joining the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union in imposing sanctions against people and groups involved in the coup.

Some analysts have said this lax positioning is also due to China’s growing influence in Myanmar. EFE


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