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Japanese Activists Target Nippon Oi

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

PRESS RELEASE		May 2, 1998


Japan Activists to Target Nippon Oil, JEXIM as Part of Action Protesting Oil
Industry Support for Burmese Military Dictatorship

Los Angeles -  Democracy activists in 25 cities across the United States and
four countries around the world will begin a three-day fast on Sunday, May
3, to protest investment in Burma by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO),
which provides crucial financial backing to the country's military junta.

In addition to joining the ARCO action, fasters in Japan will target Nippon
Oil and the Export-Import Bank of Japan in response to the oil company
April 28 announcement that it had received a loan from JEXIM to finance an
offshore gas project in Burma.  Activists contend that the loan, estimated
at $61 million, will help prolong the Burmese military regime reign of
terror by providing it with badly needed hard currency.  The regime spends
approximately half of the national budget on the armed forces, whose only
enemies are the Burmese civilian and ethnic minority populations.

The fast is the latest public protest against ARCO's investment  in Burma,
and will center around a May 4 demonstration at the site of ARCO's annual
shareholder meeting in Los Angeles.  Legendary Jazz Saxophonist Wayne
Shorter, who won a Grammy earlier this year for his composition "Aung San
Suu Kyi" has lent his support to the international ARCO Out of Burma - 3 Day
Fast and will attend Monday's Demonstration in Los Angeles to the ARCO
Shareholder Meeting. 

"Hundreds of people will be joining the fast and the demonstration in the
States," said Ken Kawasaki, one of the fasters from Burmese Relief Center--
Japan, a Nara-based NGO.  "By taking part, we here in Japan are showing our
solidarity and we're also extending the campaign to the Japanese government
and to Nippon Oil.  Our message is very simple:  stop supporting this
murderous regime."

"Burma's democratically elected leadership has repeatedly called on
corporations like ARCO to withdraw from Burma immediately," said Khin Maung
Shwe, a Burmese exile living in Los Angeles, who will join the fast.  "By
continuing to invest in Burma, ARCO is only helping  to prop up a brutal
army junta which is terrorizing my country."

ARCO is today under increasing pressure to end its investment in Burma.  The
oil giant has been the target of dozens of demonstrations at its Los Angeles
corporate headquarters as well as at ARCO gas stations.  In addition, ARCO
employees have filed a shareholder resolution which asks that the company
investigate the connection between ARCO's investment and money laundering
from the drug trade.

Burma is also the world's single largest heroin producer.  In 1996, over 60%
of all heroin seized on the streets of U.S. cities originated in Burma.  The
US State Department annual narcotics report issued in March charges that at
minimum Burma's generals have done little to stop the drug  trade, and other
analysts believe they profit enormously from the trade.

The United Nations and Amnesty International issued separate reports in
mid-April detailing an appalling array of continuing human rights abuses,
including massacres, torture and rape by Burma's military junta.  Some of
the worst atrocities have been committed in connection with oil exploration

ARCO is currently lobbying heavily against a proposed Free Burma  ordinance
with the Los Angeles City Council.  The proposed law, modeled after the
City's anti-apartheid law passed in the 1980's  would limit city contracts
for business partners of the Burmese military junta.  18 US Cities and the
State of Massachusetts already have passed such laws.   At a recent Los
Angeles City Council committee hearing on the issue, George Ross, Manager of
Corporate External Affairs for ARCO attempted to defend his company's
investment in Burma by arguing that, "You can only find oil and gas where it
is.  Unfortunately, a lot of the times these are countries with rotten
regimes that are politically repressive, that are undesirable, but oil is
where it is.  You have to figure out a way to do business with these people
and hope that  they change."

Aside from heroin, Burma's oil and gas reserves provide one of the largest
sources of foreign investment, helping the junta to maintain  power.  ARCO
has given the junta at least $11 million dollars, $6 million of which was in
the form of a no-questions-asked "contract bonus."  ARCO's contract with
SLORC includes a "gag rule" barring the company from even meeting with
democracy leaders.

The Free Burma Coalition, a network of 100 college and high school campus
groups and 40 independent organizations from 15 countries including the
Burmese Relief Center?Japan, is organizing a boycott of ARCO, demanding that
the company withdraw all  investment from Burma.  Linked to the FBC by the
Internet, activists in Japan expect increased international scrutiny and
criticism of Japanese support for the junta.  

For further information, please contact Burmese Relief Center?Japan, Ken
Kawasaki, Director.

 - - - - - - - - - 

Dear Mr. __________

I am writing to inform you I will be fasting from May 3 to May 5 to protest 
Nippon Oil's offshore gas project in Burma, which supports that country's 
brutal military regime.  My action is part of a worldwide fast protesting a 
similar investment by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO).  The 
democratically elected leadership of Burma has repeatedly called on 
corporations like ARCO and Nippon Oil to withdraw from Burma, yet until now 
you have chosen to defy the will of the vast majority of Burma's citizens. 
 By continuing to invest in Burma, Nippon Oil is only helping to prop up a 
military regime that terrorizes its own people, especially those living in 
the path of the oil pipeline.  Please, use your power to help the people of 
Burma instead of hurting them as you do now.


Our recipients:

Mr. Hidejiro Ohsawa
Nippon Oil
1-3-12, Nishi-Shinbashi
Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0003
Tel:  (03) 3502-1135
Fax:  (03) 3502-9352

Mr. Hiroshi Yasuda
Export-Import Bank of Japan
1-4-1 Otemachi
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004
Tel:  (03) 3287-9101
Fax:  (03) 3287-9539