In his Feb. 14 letter, “Japan Inc. a dubious liberator,” Richard Wilcox criticizes my Feb. 10 Timeout feature package about Myanmar, but totally misses my main points and invents ones I don’t make.
He overlooks the concerns I raise about land grabs and back room crony deals. I don’t state that Japan Inc.’s roaring back is unequivocally good. I do write that democratization is fragile and that economic stagnation could undermine the momentum of political reforms. From the comforts of Japan, Wilcox calls for more isolation. Gen. Ne Win and his military successors pursued that policy for a half-century with disastrous results.
I write that protests against various large-scale foreign investment projects and shady deals are a sign of a more vibrant democracy and greater transparency.
I stress that Japanese firms should act responsibly or face the reputational damage that afflicts Chinese firms. Like Aung San Suu Kyi, I support responsible investing, but it is not a panacea.
Myanmar’s people suffer all the problems associated with endemic poverty. Wilcox seems prepared, like the previous military junta, to ignore their plight while indulging in sanctimonious broadsides.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.