YANGON – Trade minister Yukio Edano visited Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon on Thursday and conveyed Japan’s readiness to support the country’s economy to assist its fledgling democratization process.
“Stabilizing the economy can improve the life of the citizens. . . .We hope to cooperate (to that end),” Edano told Suu Kyi at her home. Japan plans to help Myanmar improve its electric power system and other infrastructure, as well as to expand bilateral trade.
Edano’s visit is the first in nearly 12 years by a Japanese trade minister to Myanmar. The last was in 2000, when then International Trade And Industry Minister Takashi Fukaya visited the country to attend an international conference.
Edano’s visit comes just weeks after Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba visited Myanmar, becoming the first Japanese foreign minister to visit the country in nine years.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to promote cooperation between Japan’s public and private sectors with Myanmar to develop energy and mineral resources in the resource-rich country.
Thailand promised aid
Trade minister Yukio Edano met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday, pledging support to help the country recover from major flooding and calling on Bangkok to take effective steps to prevent a recurrence.
At a separate meeting, Edano agreed with Kittirat Na Ranong, deputy prime minister and commerce minister, to have Japan dispatch experts to flood-hit companies to facilitate their recovery, and to continue the temporary but qualified visas for Thai workers employed by Japanese companies to enter Japan.
In a joint statement, the Thai government also vowed to lift import duties on machinery and parts necessary for recovery and simplify visa admission procedures for Japanese and other engineers needed to help foreign manufacturers resume operations.