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Jeff Kingston’s Feb. 10 Timeout article “Gold Rush: Japan Inc. flocks to Myanmar” reads more like an advertisement written on behalf of the Foreign Ministry rather than a piece of critical-minded journalism from a renowned university professor.

Kingston equates the flood of foreign intervention into the previously isolated state of Myanmar as part of a “democratization” process and writes that Japan Inc. has “an enviable reputation for integrity as an investor and employer.” Other than some Japanese forgiveness of Myanmar debt, he does not provide evidence to support this assertion.

In Kingston’s excellent academic critiques of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, he takes Tokyo Electric Power Co. to task for its grave errors in bringing about one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents. So I am surprised to read glib pronouncements such as that “Japan Inc. is roaring back” as if that is even a good thing.

While people have long been concerned about human rights in Myanmar, replacing one oppressive regime with a potentially even more destructive system is not a progressive agenda.

In my opinion, countries like Myanmar that would prefer to stay isolated from the control and abuses of global corporations and banks should continue to do so, and protect their natural resources and people from these so-called liberators. The Japan Inc. that infamously deforested Southeast Asia’s rainforests in past decades is probably now drooling over gold and uranium mines in Myanmar, not to mention all that cheap labor.

Japan should be promoting good jobs and manufacturing at home, not the off-shoring of factories and jobs for the sake of the ultrarich Japanese corporate and banking class.

richard wilcox
tokyo

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.

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