Fri 24 Jun 2011
Filed under: International
Tokyo – Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Makiko Kikuta said Friday she will travel to Myanmar next Monday for talks with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the Southeast Asian nation’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.A meeting between Kikuta and Suu Kyi is still being arranged and if realized, it will be the first official encounter between a senior Japanese government official and Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon since August 2002 when then Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi met with the Nobel Peace laureate.
Kikuta told reporters that she hopes to hear Suu Kyi’s views on Myanmar’s government, which shifted to civilian rule in March following a general election last November after decades of military control.
Even though Tokyo thinks democratization steps implemented by the Myanmar government are “insufficient,” Japan aims to establish a new relationship with the country by discussing financial aid as well as cultural and personnel exchanges, Kikuta said.
Kikuta, who will be the first senior Japanese government official to visit Myanmar since May 2008, also said she hopes to meet with parliamentarians during her stay there through next Wednesday.
The parliamentary vice minister said she will urge the Myanmar government to make greater efforts to investigate the death of Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai, who was shot to death while filming pro-democracy protests in Yangon in 2007.
Suu Kyi was released from seven and a half years in detention last November shortly after the general election.