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Burma Weekend in Kyoto

Burma Study/Action Weekend
November 15-16, 1997
Takaradera, Yamazaki, Kyoto

It's been nine years since the demonstrations calling for democracy in Burma
resulted in a bloody crackdown and a military coup d'etat.  For those nine
years students have been struggling on the Burma's borders to keep the hope
for democracy alive.  It's been seven years since the National League for
Democracy won the elections which have never been honored by the military
junta.  Most of the leaders of the opposition are in exile, in jail, or
dead.  It's been two years since the opposition leader, Nobel Laureate Aung
San Suu Kyi, was released from six years of house arrest.  Nothing has
improved; in fact, the situation inside the country and along Burma's
borders has deteriorated drastically.

Aung San Suu Kyi is again detained under quasi house arrest; her movements
are severely limited, and journalists are denied all access to her.  Rumors
abound that a special cell for her has been prepared in notorious Insein
Prison. It is not possible to exaggerate the appalling human rights
situation in Burma these days. 

Through an insidious "divide and rule" campaign, SLORC has made cease-fire
agreements with almost all of the ethnic groups on the borders, but forced
labor, forced relocation of whole villages,  rape, and summary execution in
those areas goes on.  In Shan State, the situation borders on genocide. For
the first time, SLORC now controls the entire length of the Thai/Burma
border.  There are no more liberated areas, and as a result there are more
refugees sheltering in the jungles on both sides of the border than ever
before. Tens of thousands of new refugees have fled into Thailand just this

In spite of pleas from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Japanese government (JICA
and JETRO) is increasing assistance to the SLORC, and, to their shame,
ASEAN has admitted SLORC as a full member.

Although there have been many reports in the Japanese media recently
claiming that the economy in Burma is booming and that the life of the
people is improving, nothing is further from the truth.  Luxury hotels have
sprung up, but they remain empty.  Inflation is rampant.  Stores in Rangoon
may be filled with luxury goods, but only the very rich can afford them.
Food, even staples such as rice and cooking oil, has become very expensive
for ordinary citizens.  According to UNICEF, malnutrition is widespread
among children.  Colleges and universities, as well as many high schools,
have been closed since the end of last year.  Even those with degrees,
however, have little chance of finding meaningful jobs.  The junta, though
it continues printing money, is virtually bankrupt.

At the eighth annual Study/Action Weekend, sponsored by Burmese Relief
Center?Japan, these and other issues will be presented and discussed.  This
forum has become famous as a reliable source of information and a
springboard for action on human rights.  Several new videos will be shown,
and many up-to-date reports will be available.  There will also be recent
photos, as well as presentations, by BRC-J volunteers who have recently
returned from  Thailand and the border.

Many books and reports will be on sale.  There  will also be a bazaar with
hundreds of items, many  made by refugees themselves.

All proceeds, of course, will be used to help the  Burmese.

Burma Study/Action Weekend
November 15-16, 1997
Takaradera, Yamazaki, Kyoto

Schedule and Directions

Activities will begin early Saturday afternoon and continue until Sunday
afternoon, with accommodation for sleeping.   Vegetarian meals and Burmese
refreshments will be provided.  Discussion will be in English, Japanese,
and Burmese.  Come when you can; stay as long as you can.  Historic, scenic
Tenno-zan merits notice as well, so plan time for a hike!
Takaradera, a Shingon temple with important cultural properties, is in
Yamazaki between Kyoto and Osaka and can be reached by either JR or Hankyu.
Some  Rapid Service (kaisoku) stop at JR Yamazaki, but only the local
(futsu) stops at Hankyu Oyamazaki.  From Hankyu Oyamazaki Station, first
walk to JR Yamazaki Station (about five minutes).  From JR Yamazaki Station
cross the tracks and go STRAIGHT up the hill.  (After you cross the tracks,
DO NOT TURN RIGHT.  That takes you around the hill to the Tenno-zan cherry
trees.)  You will pass one temple before you reach the gate of Takaradera
on the right.  By car, continue past the stairs and turn right, going around
the main gate.  The parking lot is on the left.  The fifteen-minute walk up
is quite steep.  Taxis are available from both stations, but the taxi stand
at Hankyu Oyamazaki Station is not right at the station.  You have to walk
along the road to the left after you come out of the station.

Participation fee:	10,000 yen
	6000 yen for those who cannot stay overnight
		(Payable at the site)

For reservations, please contact:

Burmese Relief Center?Japan
266-27 Ozuku-cho, Kashihara, Nara 634, Japan
Tel: (0744) 22-8236 ? Fax: (0744) 24-6254

Takaradera telephone number:  (075) 956-0047  
	(for directions to the temple; NOT for reservations!)