Suu Kyi to visit Japan next week: government

Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Japan from April 13 through 19, according to a Japanese statement.

It will be her first visit to Japan in nearly three decades since her previous stay as a visiting researcher at the prestigious Kyoto University from 1985 to 1986, the foreign ministry said in the statement released late Wednesday.

She is expected to visit Kyoto, to give speeches at universities, to meet Myanmar nationals living in Japan and to hold talks with Japanese political leaders, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Her visit will come as Japan continues to court newly-liberalised Myanmar as a trading partner.

Unlike many industrialised countries, Japan maintained trade ties and generous aid for Myanmar while it was ruled by a military junta, warning that taking a hard line could push it closer to China.

Tokyo has also gently pressed the country's leaders to listen to voices of those in opposition and the international community.

Since the end of military rule in 2011, Myanmar has made visible efforts to open up to the rest of the world and has lured international firms to start operations in the potentially lucrative market.

Japanese businesses in particular have been active in the country with strong backing from Tokyo, including the cancelation of 350 billion yen ($3.7 billion) of debt and numerous aid grants.

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