Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to Meet With Japanese PM Abe During Summit Trip

By The Irrawaddy 5 October 2018

YANGON — State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will hold a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday evening in Tokyo on the sidelines of the 10th Mekong-Japan Summit, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The two will discuss Japan’s efforts to help Myanmar develop and democratize as well as the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State.

Japan has been providing aid for the safe return of the 700,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya who have fled military-led violence into Bangladesh. In July it gave Myanmar a 330 million yen ($2.9 million) emergency aid grant to help the refugees who return.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi left for Japan from Naypyitaw Friday morning. On Saturday she will visit a farm in Fukushima Prefecture to learn how Japan’s agricultural sector has been tackling a labor shortage, a problem afflicting Myanmar as well.

On Monday she will meet with officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the country’s official aid arm, to discuss its development assistance to Myanmar.

Joining Japan and Myanmar at the summit, to be chaired by Abe, will be Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Discussion will focus on the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, Japan’s plan to counterbalance China’s growing influence in the region via its Belt and Road Initiative by promoting quality infrastructure development in the countries along the Mekong River.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi accepted the invitation to the summit from Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono during his visit in August to discuss ways Japan could help Myanmar resolve the Rohingya crisis. At a joint press conference in Naypyitaw, the state counselor said her trip would strengthen Myanmar-Japan relations. 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 Abe to discuss economic assistance for Myanmar and the country’s peace process.