On This Day

The Day Japan Signed War Reparations for Myanmar

By Wei Yan Aung 5 November 2019

YANGON—On this day 65 years ago, Myanmar—being a colony of the Allied Powers which won World War II and therefore entitled to war reparations from Japan—signed a war reparations agreement in Yangon with the post-war Japanese government.

Myanmar Foreign Minister U Kyaw Nyein, who was concurrently serving as Minister of Industry, and Japanese Foreign Minister Okazaki Katsuo presided over the signing of the agreement.

According to the agreement approved by the Japanese Parliament, Japan pledged to give Myanmar US$200 million in war reparations and $50 million to support economic cooperation over the next 10 years. Japan occupied Myanmar from 1942-45.

The agreement was the first World War II reparations agreement in Southeast Asia. It was also the smallest, however: the Philippines received $550 million in reparations and $50 million for economic cooperation, and Indonesia received $223 million in reparations and $400 million for economic cooperation.

However, the Myanmar-Japan war reparations agreement included a provision that called for a review of the amount at a later date so that it could be compared to the amounts given to other countries. As a result, Myanmar received an additional $140 million 12 years later.

As part of the war reparations agreement, Japan also supported the building of the Lawpita Hydropower Project, the first hydropower project in Myanmar, located in Kayah State, as well as textile factories and the rebuilding of Yangon Port. Japan also supplied materials for transportation projects, including railway carriages.

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