Myanmar's Muslims 'barred from Suu Kyi meet' in Japan

Members of Myanmar's Muslim minority Rohingya community said Thursday they have been barred from a gathering to welcome democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi when she visits Japan.

Suu Kyi is expected from Saturday in her first visit to the country for nearly three decades, after time spent as a researcher at Kyoto University in 1985-6.

During her six-day trip, she is expected to have meetings with some of the approximately 10,000 Burmese who live in Japan, as well as with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

But Zaw Min Htut, 42, the leader of some 200 Rohingya Muslims who live in Japan, said his people had been told they were not wanted at events to welcome Suu Kyi.

"Because some Buddhist minorities are against our participation, even though I've been in Japan for decades and have helped other Myanmar nationals here, I was told by compatriot event organisers I won't be able to see Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," he told AFP, using a term of respect.

The apparent tensions between groupings within the expatriate Myanmar community underline growing problems between Muslims and Buddhists at home that have cast a shadow over much-vaunted political reforms of recent years.

At least 43 people were killed in March as mosques and Muslim homes were destroyed in central Myanmar, in a wave of communal violence that witnesses say appeared to have been well organised.

The recent disorder was the worst since an eruption of violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in the western state of Rakhine last year that left scores dead and tens of thousands -- mainly Muslims -- displaced.

The Rohingya have been described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Activists have expressed disappointment that Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate who was locked up for 15 years by the former junta, has remained largely silent about several episodes of communal bloodshed.

"I would really like to meet her in person, but I don't want there to be any quarrels," Zaw Min Htut said.

An official from Japan's foreign ministry said decisions on participation at the event were taken by organisers and were nothing to do with the ministry.

Zau Min Htut said he had met officials Wednesday and handed over a letter to Kishida, asking the minister to convey his wish that Suu Kyi play a leading role in ending inter-communal violence.

"I want her to become a mediator in ethnic conflicts, because without settlement of the issue, Myanmar will not become a truly peaceful nation, even if it becomes a democracy," he told AFP.

Suu Kyi's connection to Japan stems from her father, General Aung San, who led the independence movement in the country then known as Burma against British colonial rule.

From late 1940 he spent several months in Japan, whose Imperial Army -- then involved in a brutal campaign of conquest across Asia -- had offered succour, including cash, weaponry and manpower.

Two years later he established a Japanese-backed government, but by 1945 had enlisted the help of the British to liberate Burma from Tokyo's colonial rule.

  • Treasure trove of British newsreels reveals Top Gear's ancestors 16 minutes ago
    Treasure trove of British newsreels reveals Top Gear's ancestors

    Long after television grew to dominate American and British homes, newsreel producer British Pathé kept at it, documenting the news of the day until finally ceasing production of new short films in 1970 after 60 years of effort. Last week, all of British Pathé's 85,000 films were put online — including dozens of fascinating, rare and often weird car films that resemble nothing so much as a jet-age Top Gear.

  • Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete 1 hour 30 minutes ago
    Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete

    During this vile, never-ending winter, motorists had three options to keep their cars clean: Shell out on regular car washes; slave away in the cold, wind and snow washing it yourself, or screw it and just drive a dirty car. I, like many, chose the last option. But if only I'd been able to test Nissan's self-cleaning car, all my troubles would have washed away.

  • Popular hot yoga myths debunked 8 hours ago
    Popular hot yoga myths debunked

    What’s the hottest new workout taking the world by storm? That would be hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga. Conducted in a heated room with sweltering temperatures of about 40°C (or approximately 104° Fahrenheit) and 40 per cent humidity, … Continue reading →

  • Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern
    Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern

    A new picture of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who is now 90 years old, has drawn concern from people on Singapore's internet space.

  • Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls
    Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls

    After being photographed at work in Jurong pooling used oil near coffee shops, 50-year-old Valerie Sim has been struggling to keep her family afloat. Web portals STOMP and The Real Singapore published pictures of her in February, triggering a witch hunt for others like her and comments from readers like “Who knows if they’ll use it as cooking oil?” Some readers also said they filed police reports against her and other people they believed were doing the same thing she was.

  • I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind.
    I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind.

    I have committed a taboo – I have tendered my resignation without securing the next job. The reactions to the announcement were varied but they all pretty much hint at a deep sense of disapproval. “Why did you do that?” It was as if I had renounced my faith. “What are you going to do from now on?” Almost as though a misfortune had incapacitated me. “What does your family have to say about it?” As if I had offered to cook for the next family dinner. I was, and still am, certain of my reasons and motivations for the resignation. However the response I received got me thinking about why people are so concerned about the gaps in their careers. The developed world evolved from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy to the service age, then to the knowledge economy in the late 1990s and 2000s marked by breakthroughs in technological innovations and competition for innovation with new products and processes that develop from the research community. According to The Work Foundation, the knowledge economy is driven by the demand for higher value added goods and services created by more sophisticated, more discerning, and better educated consumers and ... The post I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind. appeared first on Vulcan Post.