Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in Japan for talks


TOKYO — State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, her first visit since becoming her country’s de facto leader earlier this year.

She and Abe are expected to discuss economic assistance and Myanmar’s peace-building process with its ethnic minorities, according to a Japanese foreign ministry official.

Japan hopes to build a better business environment in Myanmar by offering infrastructure support as more than 300 Japanese companies currently operate in the resource-rich Southeast Asian country.  

But the major donor has been irked by the delay in Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit, reportedly because of Tokyo’s close relationship with the former military-backed government of Thein Sein. 

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The State Counsellor has been on a whirlwind of diplomatic trips since her party took power six months ago, including visits to Southeast Asian neighbours as well as key allies China, the United States and India.

During her visit to Washington last month US President Barack Obama announced he would lift decades-old economic sanctions imposed on Myanmar’s former military rulers.

At home, however, Aung San Suu Kyi has faced criticism for pressing ahead with her trips while a crisis is unfolding in the north of Rakhine state, where activists have accused the military of raping and killing civilians from the Muslim Rohingya minority.

During her Japan visit which lasts until Saturday, she will also meet Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and a Japanese business group. 

She will visit Kyoto University where she stayed for about 10 months in the 1980s conducting research on her father, an assassinated military officer who steered the country, then known as Burma, toward independence from Britain.

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