Japan grants official refugee status to Myanmar national footballer

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Myanmar football player Pyae Lyan Aung (Photo Credit- Reuters)
Myanmar football player Pyae Lyan Aung (Photo Credit- Reuters)

Tokyo [Japan], August 20 (ANI): Immigration Service Agency of Japan on Friday gave a certificate of refugee status to Myanmar national football goalkeeper Pyae Lyan Aung, stating that he could face persecution if he returns to his country.

The development came a few months after Aung protested against the military coup in his country and then refused to return home. Aung has been given the status of a long-term resident by the authorities that would allow him to stay in Japan for the next five years, Kyodo News reported.

"I am grateful to Japanese people, the Japanese government, and everyone who has supported me so far. I am relieved," he told media persons after receiving the status.

Earlier, during a World Cup qualifying match between Myanmar and Japan in the city of Chiba near Tokyo on May 28, Pyae Lyan Aung raised a three-finger salute in protest against the military coup in Myanmar, an action he said may have grave consequences to his life if he returns home, reported Sputnik.

The goalkeeper requested to stay in Japan at Kansai airport on June 16, when his team was scheduled to depart.

In July, the Japanese government approved Pyae Lyan Aung's six-month visa.

On February 1, the Myanmar military overthrew the civilian government in Myanmar and declared a year-long state of emergency, which was later extended until August 2023.

The coup triggered massive demonstrations across the nation that have been met with a violent crackdown, resulting in 962 deaths. (ANI)

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