• Kyodo

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A parallel government formed by Myanmar’s pro-democracy forces in its fight against the junta urged a cross-party group of Japanese lawmakers on Thursday to lend it support in order to gain recognition in Japan as a legitimate governing body.

Duwa Lashi La, acting president of the National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG), said in a virtual meeting with the cross-party group, which supports democracy in the Southeast Asian country, that the parallel government will establish a representative office in Japan to counter the Myanmar Embassy in Tokyo, which is under the influence of the military government.

The NUG has opened representative offices in several countries including the United States, Britain and South Korea.

“We want Japan to recognize us as a legitimate government which represents Myanmar,” Duwa Lashi La said during the meeting, which was open to the media.

In response, Masaharu Nakagawa, the head of the lawmakers’ group, said the situation for pro-democracy forces is “becoming really severe,” referring to a recent court ruling against Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi was handed a two-year sentence on Monday for incitement and violating coronavirus rules by a military-controlled court.

Nakagawa, a member of the main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, vowed all-out efforts to improve the situation.

The meeting was held after the NUG, which was formed in the wake of last February’s coup, requested that Japan recognize its legitimacy in letters addressed to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.

Japan, however, is unlikely to recognize either the NUG or the military, known as the Tatmadaw, as the legitimate governing body of Myanmar, although Tokyo is seeking to preserve relations with the military in power, according to a source familiar with the matter.

In the letters sent last month, the pro-democracy group said that civilians in Myanmar are being exposed to immense hardships due to cruel acts committed by the junta.

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