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                              INFORMATION SHEET

                           No.A.0265(I)             30th Dec.1997

(1)		First Batch of 24 Coaches for Myanma Railways Arrive
		The coaches for Myanma Railways were carried by mv Southgate from Bar Port
in Yugoslavia and Ilychevsk Port in Ukraine Republic. MR purchased 402 coaches
and spare parts worth US $28 million from Yugoslavia. First batch of 24
coaches arrived Yangon and they will be used in the freight. The express
freight will soon run on Yangon-Mandalay route. MV southgate also brought in
11, 753 metric tons of construction materials.
(2)		Three Rs Course for Adultliteracy concludes in Shan State
		Three Rs course for adultliteracy organized by Maternal and Child Welfare
Association of Eastern Command under the arrangement of Shan State (South)
MCWA Supervisory Committee concluded at In-service Primary School of Eastern
Command on 27 December. Adultliteracy programme will also be launched in other
MCWAs in Shan State.
(3)		Second Bi-Annual Coordination Meeting of Township MCWAs in Mandalay
		The second bi-annual coordination meeting of Township Maternal and Child
Welfare Associations in Mandalay Division organized by Mandalay Division MCWA
Supervisory Committee was held at Mandalay City Development Committee on 27
December. Reports on child education of poor families, teaching of illiterate,
activities to boost family income, bringing down maternal mortality,
establishment of model ward and environment and birth spacing tasks was
discussed. Teaching of poor children and illiterates and Three Rs activities
were then discussed. Chairman of MCWA and members observed nunnery education
school, tailoring, knitting and gold tapestry courses, day nursery and night
school, opened by Division MCWA, it is leant.
Rebuttal to the Canberra Times Editorial
		An editorial which is extremely biased and inaccurate in Canberra Times to
day under the heading " Surprises from Currency Crisis." The comments there in
the article are unacceptable and unnecessarily inflammatory. Contrary to the
Journalists Code of Ethics, the author tries to suppress relevant available
facts and tries to make improper emphasis on inaccurate facts and rumours that
are being spread to try to create instability in Myanmar.
		What this editorial demonstrates is just how out of touch the author is with
the issues of our country and region. To provide broad and balanced view of
the Union of Myanmar, the Myanmar Embassy in Australia reproduces the excerpt
of an article entitled " Myanmar deserves credit for its advances" by
Katsuhiro Fujiwara which appeared on 1 September 1997 issue of Japan Times.
		"Last June, I went to Myanmar to attend the first joint economic conference
for members of the Japan-Myanmar Economic Committee made up of member
companies of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, Myanmar
government officials and members of the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce. It was my
first trip to Myanmar. 
		Myanmar has a population of 45 million and a land area about twice as large
as Japan. The nation is also well endowed with natural resources. However,
Myanmar was gripped by chaos in the years after Independence. For many years
the Myanmar government followed and isolationist foreign policy. Leaving the
nation's economy lagging woefully behind other Southeast Asian countries. 
		Since the inauguration of the current military regime in 1988, the Myanmar
government has undertaken a host of reforms and opened up the country to the
international economy. And now myanmar is a member of ASEAN.
		The government of Myanmar today however has been the target of harsh
criticism from Europe and the United States over its human rights record and
its democratization.	
		Sanctions have also been imposed on the government. As in America and
Europe, these issues have been covered extensively in the Japanese media. As a
result the current Myanmar government is also not popular in Japan.
		However, the conference that I attended last June gave me an opportunity to
see for myself the various achievements Myanmar has made and the positive
things the government has done since it started to flow into the country
		In terms of investment projects approved through last March Britain heads
the list of foreign investors in Myanmar followed by Singapore, Thailand, the
United States and France, Japan ranks ninth. Agricultural production, a key
economic sector in Myanmar, is also rising.
		In particular, rice output has been increasing close to 10 percent per year,
Membership of ASEAN will surely give greater impetus to economic development
in Myanmar.
		Indeed, if the development pattern of other Southeast Asian countries over
the past 20 or 30 years is any guide, the future of Myanmar should be bright,
even though it might take some time for the economy to pick up its full
		It is my hope that policy makers in Japan, as well as Europe and the United
States, will adopt a more balanced approach in their policies toward Myanmar.
The same should be said with regard to the media, which wields such enormous
influence over political, economic and social matters in today's world."