The Burmese community in Japan staged a protest and delivered an open letter to the Nippon Foundation headquarters in Tokyo on Feb. 22. They demanded Nippon Foundation chairperson, Yohei Sasakawa, stop meeting with and supporting Burma’s military coup leaders. “By encouraging the junta’s election in his recent interviews, I felt it was a way of insulting the people of Burma and that’s why I joined this protest,” said Nan Mya Kay Khaing, a professor at Kyoto Seika University.
Protesters stood in front of Nippon Foundation headquarters, shouting pro-democracy and anti-coup slogans in Japanese. They believe Sasakawa’s meetings with military officials in Naypyidaw has done nothing to bring peace to the country and will damage relations between the Nippon Foundation and the Burmese people if Sasakawa continues to show support for the junta’s planned 2023 election. Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs distanced itself from the Nippon Foundation, stating that the Japanese government is not involved in dialogue with the military in Burma.