On This Day

Myanmar’s First Ambassador to Japan Appointed During WWII

By Wei Yan Aung 30 August 2019

YANGON—On this day in 1943, Dr. Thein Maung was appointed first Myanmar ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Japan.

Dr. Thein Maung earned a medical degree in Kolkata, India before making his name as a politician and lawmaker during British colonial rule in Myanmar. He served as finance minister in 1943 in Dr. Ba Maw’s government under Japanese rule. Less than one month after he became finance minister, he was appointed ambassador to Japan.

Taking the helm of the Myanmar embassy in Japan’s capital, Tokyo, he helped Myanmar scholars studying in Japan amid bombings by the Allies during World War II.

After Japan lost the war and surrendered to the Allies, he was detained as a war criminal in Sugamo Prison in Tokyo. A few months after detention, the ailing ambassador managed to leave Japan for Myanmar with the help of his Japanese friends.

Unfortunately, he died on the ship bound to Myanmar. The 55-year-old first Myanmar ambassador to Japan was buried at sea.