Min Aung Hlaing meets with Japanese lawmaker
Min Aung Hlaing had a new visitor yesterday, receiving ruling party Japanese lawmaker Hiromichi Watanabe in Nay Pyi Taw, according to this morning’s Global New Light of Myanmar, the first time an elected Japanese politician has met the general since the coup. According to GNLM, the two men reportedly spoke about the “need for people in Japan to know the true situations”. We have a feeling the real reason for his latest visit was more to do with the recent arrest of Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota, but naturally this was not mentioned in the GNLM write-up.
While the junta has a habit of eventually releasing foreign detainees, especially when international pressure ramps up, Toru’s high-profile work on the Rohingya crisis, including contributing to an Al Jazeera documentary, might hurt his case. He was charged last week under section 13(1) of the Immigration Law, likely for overstaying his visa, and under section 505-A of the Penal Code for incitement for attending a protest. It remains unclear why Hiromichi, who previously served as Japan’s Minister of Reconstruction, was selected for this trip. He does have some background on Myanmar – he served as a secretary in the Japan-Myanmar Parliamentary Friendship Association, and he was part of a Japanese delegation that visited Myanmar in 2004 to meet with Khin Nyunt. But beyond that, little is known about his work on Myanmar.
Anniversary of 8888 Uprising
Monday marked the 34th anniversary of the 8888 Uprising, named for one of the first days of mass protests – August 8, 1988. While many demonstrations were cancelled due to fear of arrests, images of one protest in Yangon quickly went viral in which four activists are seen parading around Yangon with black umbrellas each affixed with the number eight in Burmese. They posted one photo at the intersection of Anawratha and Sule Pagoda roads in Kyauktada Township, just a few metres away from a police station, where many mass protests were held in February and March of 2021. Similar protests with umbrellas displaying the number eight were held in Taiwan, Japan, Australia, the United States and France.
In rural parts of the country, especially in Sagaing Region, several larger events were held, demonstrating the military’s lack of control over these resistance strongholds. A public seminar was held in Wetlet Township in Sagaing Region and residents in an undisclosed village in Taze Township held a protest. In Kalay Township, residents banged pots and pans.
These summaries are drawn from our Daily Briefing, which informs our members every weekday about current affairs in Myanmar, and from our Media Monitor, which features translations of headlines and stories in Myanmar-language media. Take a free trial of the newsletters here.