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Burmese Independence Day in Japan

        In a December 15, 1995, article in the Japan Times, a Japanese
Foreign Ministry official said that the Ministry was "closely watching to
see if something that breaks the impasse (between SLORC and the NLD) will
happen" before the Ministry decides whether to resume aid to SLORC.  "The
dates we are paying extra attention to for the time being are:  December 15,
when Than Shwe will be in Bangkok, and January 4, the 48th anniversary of
Burma's independence from Britain," the official said.
        Accordingly, Burmese democracy activists in Japan will stage a
demonstration in Tokyo in support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the democratic
opposition in Burma on this critical date.  Following is the text of the
statement for the occasion:

Statement on the 48th Anniversary
of Burmese Independence Day
January 4, 1996

	Exactly 48 years ago today, the Burmese people cast off the yoke of British
colonial rule, only to be enslaved a decade later by a more savage master:
the military dictatorship of General Ne Win. 
	Today, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, the latest incarnation
of the dictatorship that has darkened our Golden Land since 1962, is
attempting, through its sham National Convention, to rewrite the Burmese
constitution in order to legalize evils ranging from petty corruption to
systematic genocide.
	At the same time, Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her millions of
supporters at home and abroad are peacefully waging a "second struggle for
independence" against these "indigenous colonizers," to borrow a phrase from
the recently martyred Ken Saro-Wiwa of Nigeria.
	On this important day in Burma's history, we urge Japan to do more to help
us liberate our homeland.  While we hail the Foreign Ministry's decision in
December to suspend further aid to SLORC pending an end to its human rights
abuses and a start of talks with the democratic opposition, we deplore the
rapacity of Japanese business, whose increasing investments with SLORC
promise to prolong the military's illegitimate rule.
	Nineteen ninety-six could be the year that the Burmese people finally
breathe free, or it could be just another year of full of hunger and
bloodshed.  The outcome depends not only on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the
SLORC generals, but on all of humankind.  May we all have the strength and
courage to carry our share of responsibility for Burma's future. 

* * *

Burma Youth Volunteer Association
Burmese Relief Center -- Japan
Democratic Burmese Students Organization
International Network for Burma Relief
National League for Democracy (Liberated Area) -- Japan Branch