On This Day

A False Freedom

By Wei Yan Aung 1 August 2019

Yangon—Japan, which together with the Burma Independence Army drove the British colonialists out of Myanmar, granted independence to what was then Burma 76 years ago today.

On the morning of August 1, 1943, the Dr. Ba Maw-led government was installed. That afternoon, Myanmar’s declaration of independence was read on the radio, in the same address that declared war against the US and Britain.

That day, horse-carts, tricycle rickshaws, rickshaws, bicycles and cars roamed along Yangon’s streets, flying miniature Burma-Nippon crossed flags. Three Japanese reconnaissance planes dropped pamphlets celebrating Myanmar’s independence, which was recognized by a number of countries, including Germany, Thailand, Nanjing, Bulgaria and Manchuria.

However, the independence granted by Japan turned out to be a sham. They had installed a puppet government while Japanese soldiers suppressed the people of Myanmar.

Less than two years later, the people of Myanmar, led by Gen. Aung San and others, fought the Japanese.

The Japan Imperial Army surrendered in September 1945.

Over 100,000 Japanese soldiers died in Myanmar during the war in, which British and Japanese troops fighting the second world war had reduced to ashes.

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