• Kyodo

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Defense Minister Gen Nakatani met Monday with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader, in Naypyitaw, expressing Japan’s intention to offer support from the Self-Defense Forces toward capacity-building in Myanmar’s military.

Suu Kyi thanked Nakatani for the support. “I would like to push for democracy under civilian control,” Japanese officials quoted Suu Kyi as saying.

“The stability and development of Myanmar benefits peace and prosperity of the region,” Nakatani told reporters after the meeting. According to Japan’s Defense Ministry, it is the first time Suu Kyi has met with a defense minister from another country.

The move is in line with the Japanese government’s plan to enhance assistance for Myanmar in a wide range of areas, including humanitarian aid and disaster relief, as a new civilian government effectively led by Suu Kyi was launched in March.

Earlier in the day, Nakatani met with Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the head of Myanmar’s military, and his counterpart, Lt. Gen. Sein Win.

A post on Min Aung Hlaing’s Facebook page after the meeting said that he had explained how the military was engaged in attempts to achieve peace with ethnic minority armed groups and spoke about Japan’s assistance with Myanmar’s ongoing peace process.

The reports from Min Aung Hlaing stated that during his meeting with Nakatani, the commander in chief “recalled the fact that Myanmar’s army was founded with Japanese help, and the two discussed bilateral cooperation, including naval relations, exchange programs, disaster relief, humanitarian efforts, health care and meteorological and other training.”

He added that “the military will strive its best until the time when peace and stability for the country are guaranteed.”

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