Friday, August 18, 2017

Visit a tentative step in Japan-Myanmar military relations

The Japanese military's top officer held meetings with his Myanmar counterpart on May 27, officials said, the first visit of Japan's highest-ranking army officer to the country since World War II.

General Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of staff of the Japanese Self Defense Forces Joint Staff, met Myanmar army chief Min Aung Hlaing in the capital Naypyidaw as part of a four day trip to the former junta-run nation, according to an information ministry official.

He will on Wednesday meet President Thein Sein, who has been credited for a wealth of political and economic reforms that have seen the former junta-run country shed its pariah image.

Japan has had no military ties with Myanmar since 1945, when its three year occupation of the country came to an end with an Allied counter attack.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Myanmar in May 2013 -- the first visit by a Japanese premier since 1977.

Tokyo has maintained trade ties and has ramped up investment as well as forgiving 300 billion yen ($3 billion) of the 500 billion yen owed by Myanmar.