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Campaigner urges Japan to cease support for Burmese regime

Mar 20, 2009 (DVB), The director of the US Campaign for Burma met with Japanese MPs in Tokyo this week to raise concerns about Japan’s perceived support for the Burmese regime in the lead-up to the 2010 elections.

Aung Din, director of USCB, flew to Tokyo on Wednesday to discuss Japanese policy to Burma.

"They were showing signs that likely to support the State Peace and Development Council's 2010 election plan," he said.

"I pointed out during my discussion with Japanese MPs that is important to release political prisoners in Burma before going ahead with the elections."

The USCB has been calling for a revision on the 2008 constitution to make it amendable by most parties, and for dialogue and reconciliation between the SPDC and opposition groups.

According to unconfirmed reports, the Japanese government has also been urging the National League for Democracy to participate in the elections.

International governments should not recognise the elections unless these problems are solved, he added.

"When I questioned the Japanese officials about [their support], they said the Japanese government's policy is to remain in the middle, while recognising opinion from both the Burmese government and the opposition."

He pointed to the difference between the US government, "who has a great respect for public opinion", and the Japanese.

"In the States, the congress has power to make policies but in Japan, the authority of the parliament is barely anything," he said.

"The Japanese government is run by bureaucrats and thus it is always difficult for them to make changes in their policy."

Reporting by Htin Aung