Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to Join Mekong-Japan Summit in Tokyo

By Nan Lwin 1 October 2018

YANGON — State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will leave for Japan on Friday to take part in the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit to discuss ways to connect industries and improve infrastructure in the Mekong region, according to Japan Today.

The state counselor will also visit a farm in Fukushima Prefecture during the six-days trip to learn how Japan’s agriculture sector was coping with a labor shortage, a problem Myanmar is also facing.

The summit itself will take place on Oct. 8 and 9 in Tokyo, where delegates will discuss a number of regional initiatives, including the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy — led by Japan as a way to counterbalance China’s Belt and Road Initiative — and the 2019-2023 Ayeyarwady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, according to the website of Japan’s mission to ASEAN.

A statement on the site said the leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam will focus on making “connectivity, people and the environment” three new “pillars” of cooperation as ways to promote peace, stability and prosperity across the Mekong region.

The leaders are also expected to endorse Japan’s efforts on the Indo-Pacific Strategy, affirm the need for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and share their views on the Mekong Region’s role as a link between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi accepted the invitation to the summit from Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono during his visit to Myanmar in August to discuss the Rohingya crisis. During a joint press conference in Naypyitaw, the state counselor said the meeting in Tokyo would strengthen relations between the two countries. Kono said Japan would continue to help Myanmar solve its problems.

In 2013, while leader of Myanmar’s opposition, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited Japan for the first time in 27 years. She conducted research at Kyoto University from 1985 to 1986.

She last visited Japan in 2016 as state counselor. During that trip she met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss economic assistance for Myanmar and the country’s peace process.