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HANOI (Kyodo) Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada has urged his Myanmar counterpart, Nyan Win, to ensure the participation of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a general election slated for later this year, according to Japanese officials.

Okada met with Nyan Win on the sidelines of meetings Wednesday of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and asked the ruling junta to release Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest, before the election and conduct a free and fair election, they said.

The Myanmar minister said the country’s new constitution doesn’t bar Suu Kyi from becoming a member of Parliament and that she will be able to take part in the election as soon as she is released, the officials said.

He also said Myanmar’s electoral commission is scheduled to announce the date of the election soon.

In March, the junta announced a new political party registration law through state-run newspapers, which says members of a political party are not eligible for electoral participation if they have been convicted in court.

The democracy icon, who has long been under detention, was convicted last year of violating the terms of her house arrest.

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