A man has raised his voice against the Japanese foreign ministry invitation to Myanmar to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe'sAbe's Sept. 27 state funeral, stating that the act of welcoming the military regime that oppresses people in his home country is against the principle of protecting democracy.
The day of Abe's state funeral marks the 15th anniversary of the death of Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai, aged 50, while covering a protest in Myanmar. The Mainichi Shimbun spoke to a Tokyo resident from Myanmar who was vocal in condemning the actions of the junta in his home country, as well as Japan's de facto invitation to the military.
Win Kyaw, 57, who fled to Japan in 1989, joined the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar in 1988 when he was a postgraduate student at Rangoon Institute of Technology, now Yangon Technological University. His college friend was killed in one of the protests. The military took power after staging a coup, and Win Kyaw fled to Japan as he sensed that his life was in danger for joining efforts including the founding of the National League for Democracy with Aung San Suu Kyi.
He attended journalist Kenji Nagai's funeral on October 8, 2007 in Tokyo. As a Burmese person, I can't forgive the actions of the Myanmar military. He said that he was very sorry. During the funeral, he bowed in apology to Nagai's parents, who both passed away in 2013.
Win Kyaw said he was compelled to apologize to the parents of the Japanese person who had devoted himself to Burma when he attended the funeral. His death directed the world's attention to Burma. He continues to live within me as a hero. Win Kyaw is currently working at a restaurant in Tokyo and uses social media during his free time to collect information about the military's acts of oppression against the people following the 2021 coup. He has been sending videos and photos showing the military's violent and brutal acts to the UN. He wants to have the military's senior officials prosecuted and put on trial at the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, based on thousands of pieces of evidence. He said that social media did not exist in 1988. Now people have a chance to communicate with the world. It is getting harder to get information as the military is blocking the internet. Many people in Myanmar have become refugees after the coup, despite the fact that they were fleeing persecution. Win Kyaw has cooperated with Win Kyaw in setting refugee camps and medical facilities in his home country by raising donations in Japan. He said that some of the facilities were destroyed in air strikes. Air strikes are still going strong at this moment. He says that he wants the Japanese government to know that the crisis in Myanmar has not gone away.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan sent Myanmar an invitation to Prime Minister Abe's state funeral scheduled for Sept. 27, which invites only the military side to the funeral, instead of the pro-democracy forces. Myanmar's ambassador to Japan plans to attend the funeral. Win Kyaw said that the military should not be invited to the state funeral as government representatives. He said that many citizens of Burma are fighting without giving up to the military's violence in order to restore democracy. Inviting the military opposes the principle of protecting democracy as stated by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Win Kyaw, he calls his home country Burma, the old name before it was changed by military leaders to Myanmar. State guests from Myanmar were not invited to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19 according to the BBC and other sources.