Japan envoy to meet Suu Kyi, Myanmar government


Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi talks to reporters following a meeting with US Senator John McCain (not pictured), at her house in Yangon on June 2, 2011. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - JAPAN will send a senior diplomat to Myanmar next week to meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hold talks with the government, the foreign ministry in Tokyo said on Friday.

Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Makiko Kikuta said she will discuss financial aid with Myanmar officials, although Tokyo believes more has to be done to fully democratise the country after recent polls.
She will be Japan's first senior official to meet Nobel Peace laureate Ms Suu Kyi in nine years. She will also meet Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin for the first senior-level talks since elections last year.
Myanmar's regime said the November 2010 poll was a step toward democracy, and it later handed over to nominally civilian rulers. But many outside observers say that the changes are purely cosmetic.
'I hope my visit will be the first step toward building a new relationship between the Japanese government and the new administration which is moving toward democratisation,' Ms Kikuta said.
Tokyo has suspended economic assistance since 2003, except for humanitarian and emergency aid, due to Ms Suu Kyi's arrest and long-term house arrest, and a crackdown on democracy advocates. -- AFP

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