Japan accepts Myanmar military members for education program

Japan accepts Myanmar military members for education program

The Japanese government has accepted four members of the military of Myanmar for an education and training program this fiscal year despite criticism from an international human rights group.

At a lower House Security Committee meeting on April 26th, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said three personnel from Myanmar have joined the program at the National Defense Academy, while the fourth has entered an officer candidate school of the Air Self-Defense Force.

Members of Human Rights Watch criticized the Defense Ministry for allowing Myanmar military personnel to join the Japanese program after its coup in the Southeast Asian country in February last year.

Kishi said that his ministry has had various discussions on the issue. He stressed that the program is meant to develop personnel who understands democracy and civilian control. Kishi said at a news conference on April 26 that the training program will help rebuild the future of Myanmar by teaching students about the way an organization works in a democratic country.

Teppei Kasai, 31, a Human Rights Watch official, said the acceptance of Myanmar military personnel into the program was extremely regrettable. It leaves open the possibility that the Japanese government might become involved in the Myanmar military slaying of citizens, Kasai said.

Mying Swe, who is the president of the Federation of Workers Union of Burmese Citizen in Japan, also criticized the decision of the government.

Mying Swe said that the Japanese government expects that its relationship with Myanmar s military will continue. Accepting students from Myanmar is a wrong thing to do for a democratic country.