Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged his support for Burma’s peace process as Naypyidaw officials paid a visit to Tokyo.
During a meeting with Burma’s President’s Office Minister Aung Min on 14 April, Abe stated his desire to see a peace deal finalised swiftly. The prime minister promised assistance for the peace process, according to Japanese press reports, and emphasised the need for free and fair elections later this year.
The visit comes after the signing of an agreement on the text of a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement between the Burmese government’s Union Peace-Making Work Committee and the ethnic bloc’s Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team on 31 March.
Japan has been a consistent supporter of political and economic development in Burma over recent years, pardoning over 300 billion yen ($3.4 billion) of Burmese debt in 2012 in support of Naypyidaw’s political and economic reforms.
It was also confirmed that Japan would continue to provide 10 billion yen (US$ 83.5 million) in assistance, as previously agreed, to improve living standards in Burma’s war-torn ethnic areas.
In a letter delivered to Abe by Aung Min, Burma’s President Thein Sein wrote that he is committed to the success of the peace talks, and is expecting to engage in political dialogue after the signing of the final ceasefire agreement.
Burmese delegates on the trip also included ministers Khin Ye and Han Htay, as well as officials from Myanmar Peace Centre, which brokered the recent peace talks.
The Burmese team also met with the Japanese Defence Minister, and with officials at Japan’s parliament, including the former prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda.