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Burma Study/Action Weekend in Japan

        Date:  13 Nov 94 21:50 JST
        From: NBH03114@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Yamazaki, Kyoto, Japan
November 12-13, 1994
Burmese Relief Center--Japan, 
Burma Youth Volunteer Association

Twenty activists from six countries gathered in Kyoto
this Saturday and Sunday to discuss Burmese issues and 
to plan ways to support the democracy movement there. 
During the fifth annual Burma Study/Action Weekend, held 
by Burmese Relief Center--Japan, participants heard about 
the latest political developments from several people who 
had recently traveled in the impoverished country and to 
the war-torn border region.  They then developed strategies 
for pressuring SLORC, the military government in Rangoon, to 
transfer power to civilian rule and to unconditionally free
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.  They reiterated their strong 
opposition to the Japanese government's resumption of ODA to 
SLORC.  According to BRC-J director Ken Kawasaki, "It is absurd 
to pretend that things are back to normal in Burma.  Until
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is free to hold discussions on an equal 
basis with her captors, nothing important will have changed."

Dean Chapman, a freelance photojournalist from Britain, showed 
slides and black and white prints taken during the 16 months 
he lived with the Karenni ethnic group along the Thai/Burma 
border.  "Despite ceasefire negotiations, SLORC is engaging 
in large-scale offensives against the ethnic minorities," he 
said.  "As a consequence, the people continue to suffer, and 
their standard of living deteriorates, despite SLORC's claims to
economic improvement."

Because SLORC is promoting tourism to procure desperately 
needed foreign currency, participants in the Kyoto meeting agreed 
to target travel agencies in Japan offering tours to Burma.  They 
will also launch a campaign to inform prospective Japanese tourists 
of the implications of their travel to Burma.

Participants are sending letters and faxes to protest the presence 
of SLORC at the 17th Session of the International Tropical Timber 
Council in Yokohama .  They are calling upon delegates not to do 
business with SLORC.  They also resolved to expand ongoing campaigns, 
particularly the boycott of Nippon Oil and other companies involved 
in the gas pipeline in Burma, which is being built with the massive 
use of forced labor.

Scheduled activities for the near future include demonstrations in 
Tokyo, Kobe, and Okayama on December 10,  International Human Rights 
Day, and January 4, Burmese Independence Day, in coordination with 
similar actions by human rights groups around the world.