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Action at Japanese Consulate
- Subject: Action at Japanese Consulate
- From: frdc@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 08 Aug 1995 17:25:00
Action at Japanese Consulate
On the seventh anniversary of the August 8, 1988 massacre of
Burmese pro-democracy demonstrators, the Massachusetts
Campaign for A Free Burma delivered a letter of concern to the
Japanese Consul General in Boston. The text of the letter is
enclosed. A similar action took place at the Japanese Consulate in
We recommend that other Burma Action Groups around the world join us
in similar actions. Japanese Burma activists have told us that the
Japanese take keen notice of criticism from abroad. We can attest to
the fact that the Japanese Deputy Consul General in Boston (who was
in charge of the Consulate on that day in the absence of the Consul
General) carefully read the letter in our presence and thanked us for
Franklin Research & Development
(617) 423 6655 x225
Massachusetts Campaign for a Free Burma
August 8. 1995
Mr. Nobuyasu Abe
Federal Reserve Plaza
600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
Dear Mr. Abe:
We are writing to express our concern about the Japanese government's
policy of closer economic ties with the Burmese military government.
We are doing this in solidarity with demonstrations and actions
taken by Burma democracy activists in Tokyo and Bangkok.
We are sure that you share our delight in the release of Aung San
Suu Kyi after almost six years of house detention. However, Aung
San Suu Kyi's release is not part of a move towards a political
settlement by the ruling Burmese military junta. Thus far, the
junta has not responded to Aung San Suu Kyi's request for the
release of all political prisoners and a dialog to negotiate a
peaceful restoration of democracy.
Aung San Suu Kyi herself has stated that: "All those who are
interested in democratic development in Burma should wait and
see what is going to happen before they decide to change their
tactics....Nothing has changed yet, apart from my release."
Aung San Suu Kyi has also asked foreign governments and investors
not to "rush" to restore trade and aid programs to Burma.
In May, the Japanese government resumed an insurance program for
Japanese companies trading with Burma. Japan is also reported to
be considering the resumption of full-scale economic aid following
Aung San Suu Kyi's release. These actions by the Japanese
government give the green light to Japanese companies to invest
in Burma. Itochu, Marubeni and Sumitomo are working with the
Burmese military government on economic development projects.
Within a week of Aung San Suu Kyi's release, Daiwa Securities
announced its plans to open a brokerage in Burma to prepare for
the re-establishment of a stock exchange.
By entering into agreements with the Burmese military government,
Japanese companies risk becoming the target of a boycott. American
companies such as ARCO, PepsiCo, Texaco and Unocal have already
lost business because of their presence in Burma. Earlier this
year, the City of Berkeley, California, voted to boycott all
companies doing business in Burma and other cities and states are
expected to do the same. In the Massachusetts legislature, a
similar law has already passed the House and is currently being
considered in the Senate. As this legislation becomes law,
Japanese companies doing business in Burma risk losing valuable
contracts with American cities and states.
More importantly, the recent actions by Japan go against the
clearly expressed wishes of Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese
democracy movement. We would strongly urge that the Japanese
government and Japanese corporations consult closely with
democratic forces inside Burma before taking any further actions.
We are somewhat encouraged by the recent statements by the
Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono. At the recent ASEAN
meeting, Mr. Kono is reported to have urged the Burmese military
junta to "proceed towards democracy" and place stronger importance
on human rights. However, a few days before Mr. Kono's comments,
the deputy Foreign Minister Hiroshi Fuduka again suggested that
Japan might resume its Official Development Assistance program
I would greatly appreciate it if you could communicate our
concerns to the Japanese government and Japanese corporations
considering doing business in Burma.