IDJ-ENGLISH Human Rights Need More Consideration by Japanese Companies



Human Rights Need More Consideration by Japanese Companies

-Japan’s “Public-Private Partnership” Investment is Stumbling in Myanmar
Five months have passed since the military coup in Myanmar on February 1. The military crackdown continues against civilians seeking to end violence and restore democratization, and there is no sign of improvement. On the other hand, some Japanese investment projects have been severely criticized for “benefitting the national army”. IDJ reports on the problems of Japanese investment in post-coup Myanmar. (Yukifumi Takeuchi)
Emphasizing practical business
Based in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, there is an international NGO that is promoting quiet signature movements among business communities. The Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) was originally established by the UK’s Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB). Since February 19th, the statement by “Concerned Businesses Operating in Myanmar” has been posted on its website.
”As investors, we inhabit a ‘shared space’ with the people of Myanmar, including civil society organizations, in which we all benefit from respect for human rights, democracy and fundamental freedoms – including freedom of expression and association – and the rule of law. The rule of law, respect for human rights, and the unrestricted flow of information all contribute to a stable business environment”.
“We remain committed to our employees and to the people of Myanmar. We hope to see a swift resolution of the current situation based on dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.”
MCRB is asking foreign and Myanmar companies that are expanding into the country to sign the statement. They seem to be trying to avoid clashing head-on with the military, acting with a calm demeanor from the perspective of a “practical business” position, saying that “the law, democracy, and respect for human rights are essential for business.” As of early June, 233 companies have signed, according to a list posted on its website homepage. In addition to the food and beverage industries such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Carlsberg, Heinekens and KFC, well-known companies in the United States and Europe such as Unilever, H&M, and Facebook.
The Japanese companies have the names of local subsidiaries such as Denso Co., Ltd., Kubota Co., Ltd., H.I.S. Co., Ltd., and Nishimura & Asahi Myanmar Limited.
The head of MCRB is a former British diplomat who also served as ambassador to Myanmar (2002-06). She is fluent in Burmese and was a secretary at the embassy in the 1990s. MCRB mediated a dialogue between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the local residents of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone.
The statement also includes Japanese, Chinese, and Korean translations, and also asks Japanese, Chinese, and Korean companies to sign it. It might be Ms Bowman’s idea who is familiar with Japanese diplomacy and trends among Japanese companies.
However, an executive of a certain Japanese company is reluctant to respond to the MCRB movement. He cares about his company being glared at by the Myanmar military if his company signs it.
However, as enshrined in “the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”, companies need to take steps to prevent human rights-related risks. It means that in Myanmar, business should not be involved with the military, which is clearly committing criminal acts that are serious human rights violations.
The eyes of the international community increasingly harsh against the military
After the coup, the investment risks held by Japanese companies became clear. A large complex building under construction near the Shwedagon Pagoda, a famous ancient temple in Yangon. It is “Y Complex”, already reported in the Myanmar Special Feature Stories of this magazine, IDJ, in May edition.
A major real estate development company, Tokyo Tatemono Co., Ltd., a general construction company, Fujita Co., Ltd., and Japanese government-based Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) invested a total of approximately 36 billion yen. After completion, Japanese Hotel Okura, apartments and commercial facilities are supposed to move in. According to Justice for Myanmar, a local NGO, the land is where the military museum was previously located and owned by the military, and more than 200 million yen a year in rent for that real estate is paid to the Ministry of Defense under the Military.
The question that came to mind when I heard this, was whether there were any objections to this public-private partnership project in the process of making investment decisions, including from government agencies. In particular, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Mizuho Financial Group, Inc., and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. decided to co-financing a total of 16 billion yen in December, 2018.
The Rohingya refugee problem had already been highly controversial before this. Myanmar’s strong military was severely criticized by the international community, and the NLD government at the time was shaken. However, was no risk pointed out during the process of investment decision? Why was this business given the go-ahead?
The IDJ team of journalists requested explanations from the companies involved and received certain responses regarding this project; Tokyo Tatemono Co., Ltd., JOIN, JBIC, Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc.
IDJ received responses from most of these companies. As the central position of this project, here we introduce written answers from Tokyo Tatemono and JOIN.
The details of the business decision could not be disclosed as “business confidentiality.” But “the local operating company has rented the site from a Myanmar joint venture company. The company has borrowed the land from the Ministry of Defense, an agency of the Myanmar government. But we recognize that the ultimate beneficiary is the Government of Myanmar, not the Ministry of Defense.” They also stressed that they strictly complied with laws and regulations, saying, “We also conducted studies about the country’s related laws and regulations, related permits, etc., concerning this project, as well as the U.S. Burmese Economic Sanctions Regulations concerning business partners and confirmation of various regulations under the Foreign Asset Management Act.”
There seems to be a point in the view that “the ultimate beneficiary is not the Ministry of Defense, but the government”. However, in Myanmar, the national defense budget is not obligated to disclose information under the constitutional provisions. The whereabouts of the funds paid is unclear.
“Japanese companies only emphasize the legal risks and are willing to do so if there are no legal issues. But they don’t think highly of stakeholder risks (such as business partners) ,” Bowman said.

During the former military rule of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in the 1990’s , I often saw Japanese expatriates playing golf with senior military officials at the military golf club in Yangon and building connections. Including other Asian countries, it was a show of the skill of the corporate warrior to deeply engage with the regime of the development dictatorship.
Now, however, the times have changed dramatically. The international community’s eyes are on the military rule and are becoming increasingly critical. Business with the military, which tramples on Myanmar’s hard-fought democracy and continues to crack down on human rights, will not work.
“International Development Journal”, July edition, 2021



ミャンマー つまずいた日本の“官民連携”投資


IDJ-ENGLISH-Key to the Sustainable Development of the Indo-Pacific


Editorial Report Point of View

Commencement of “The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science”
Key to the Sustainable Development of the Indo-Pacific


Dr. Atsushi Sunami,President, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation

“The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development ”, which was declared at the UN General Assembly in 2017, started this year. Until 2030, the development of observation networks and the promotion of scientific research necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be promoted under the leadership of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). How will Japan’s science and technology diplomacy develop? Dr. Atsushi Sunami, Editorial Board Member of the International Development Journal, shares his views.

Expectations toward Japan’s Leadership

The UN Decade of Ocean Science was proposed by the UNESCO-IOC to the UN General Assembly based on the recognition that it is essential to focus on research in oceans that still have many unknowns left behind in the realization of SDG14 (oceans) and SDG13 (response to climate change). In order to advance observation and research, the viewpoint of ocean policy, which includes knowledge about social science, is also indispensable in terms of social implementation that connects results to the SDGs.
In addition, issues related to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as discussions on marine genetic resources and marine reserve areas at the UN Intergovernmental Conference on the preservation and sustainable use of the Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), and even the issue of marine plastic litter, require the enhancement of solid scientific knowledge based on natural scientific research. At the same time, in the development of concrete measures, on top of research on maritime policy, solutions from the perspective of science, technology and innovation (STI) are also necessary.
In Japan, a maritime based and science- and technology-oriented country, the promotion of such ocean science is an important issue that is the foundation of maritime policy, and is directly linked to the development of Japan’s science and technology diplomacy. In particular, in February, 2021, a National Committee was established to promote our contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science, as Japan is expected to demonstrate its leadership in science and technology diplomacy. This committee, co-chaired by Shigeki Sakamoto, a Chairman of the Japan Society of Ocean Policy, and I, are expected to substantially take on the role of science and technology diplomacy centered around ocean science in cooperation with similar committees in other countries.
U.S. also plays a more active role in science and technology diplomacy
As mentioned above, Japan is currently required to maintain its presence in the international community by using science and technology diplomacy as an important tool for diplomacy, to help solve global issues, work with allies, and in responding to the security environment. By the same token, active development of such science and technology diplomacy is also being seen in other advanced countries.
In particular, the US Biden Administration has been actively engaged in diplomacy, with former Secretary of State, John Kerry, as its special envoy, making global warming countermeasures one of its top issues, and the US has also actively cooperated with China, which is competing for hegemony. Jane Lubchenco, a former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who was appointed head of climate change action at the Office of Science, Technology and Policy (OSTP), the Biden administration’s science and technology control tower, is a prominent ocean scientist. This also shows how important ocean science is to the Biden Administration.
Furthermore, in the future, competition will emerge between each country as they compete for leadership toward the target of “zero emissions”. Under such circumstances, the STI for SDGs, which Japan has led at the UN, with the aim of contributing to global issues, will be more necessary than ever, especially the promotion and utilization of ocean science.
The use of technology in marine waste and Arctic policy
The promotion and utilization of ocean science is particularly expected for solutions to the problem of marine plastic waste. “The Marine Plastic Litter Countermeasures Action Plan” formulated by the Japanese government ahead of the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” at the G20 Osaka Summit in June, 2019, also provided a description of science and technology.
In order to realize a “world that does not create new pollution,” the contribution from science and technology has been shown, including recognition of the actual situation, enhancing scientific knowledge, developing materials that have less impact even if they flow into theoceans, and promoting innovation. In addition, the Action Plan mentions the contribution to the effective prevention of the outflow of marine plastic waste in developing countries and other countries. It also aims to link science and technology initiatives to the development of science and technology diplomacy.
Expectations are also high for Arctic policy. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has been promoting “The Arctic Challenge for Sustainability Project (ArCS)“ since 2015, and “ArCSⅡ” since 2020, with plans to hold the third Arctic Science Ministers’ Meeting in Tokyo in 2021. Through this meeting, Japan’s leadership in solving policy issues in the Arctic Ocean from the scientific and technological side is anticipated. In addition, contributions to the “Zero Greenhouse Gas Emission nets by 2050”, which Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, expressed in October, 2020, is also expected to propose mitigation measures from the perspective of ocean science such as blue carbon.
Expanding collaboration with the U.S., Australia and India
Ocean science as a form of science and technology diplomacy also plays an important role in the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP). It is significant to collaborate in the field of ocean science in the Quad cooperation between Japan, the U.S., Australia and India. Japan, the U.S. and Australia have already cooperated in the field of observation, and it is important to further expand the quality and scale of this research in the future, as well as to advance cooperation with India.
In the stable development of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, understanding the ocean situation using satellites as a collaboration between marine science and space technology will contribute not only to security, but also to disaster prevention and the eradication of “illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries”. Similarly, cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), particularly in the maritime field, including the promotion of a blue economy with Indonesia, will have a significant impact.
On the other hand, cooperation with Pacific island nations, which have a significant influence in international public opinion on the oceans, is an important diplomatic issue for Japan. Palau, for example, will host an international conference called “Our Ocean” created by U.S. Envoy John Kerry during his time as a Secretary of State, this year for the first time in the island nation. With this background, cooperation in the field of ocean science is expected to have a significant impact at the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9) to be held this year.
In combating climate change, it is important for Japan to actively promote dialogue with China in promoting ocean science, as the U.S. and China have agreed to cooperate with each other. There is already a bilateral agreement on marine plastic waste between Japan and China. I think it significant that ocean science will lead Japan-China science and technology cooperation, on the foundation of *Sino-Japanese cooperation that has been built up so far.
The Basic Act on Ocean Policy, enacted in 2007 as a response to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, states in Article 4 (Enhancement of Scientific Knowledge on the Oceans) that “in view of the many fields in which the oceans are not scientifically understood, scientific knowledge on the oceans must be enhanced.”
In response to new international issues, such as the marine plastic waste and the Arctic environment, Japan’s science and technology leadership is expected. It is possible to lead the international community while maintaining Japan’s international position in science and technology in the marine field. Japan, a maritime nation and science and technology nation, will play a leading role in the success of “the UN Decade of Ocean Science”, which will also greatly contribute to the further development of science and technology diplomacy, an important pillar of Japanese diplomacy.
“International Development Journal”, June edition, 2021


視点 国際開発ジャーナル 論説委員


論説委員 角南 篤 (公財)笹川平和財団 理事長


さらには今後、「ゼロエミッション」をターゲットに各国が指導権争いにしのぎを削る姿が視野に入る。そうした中で、我が国が国連でもリードしてきたSTIによる地球規模課題への貢献を目指すSTI for SDGs、とりわけ海洋科学の推進と利活用はこれまで以上に求められるようになるだろう。
他方、海洋に関する国際世論で大きな影響力を持つ太平洋島嶼(しょ)国との協働は、我が国の重要な外交課題である。例えばパラオは、米国のケリー特使が国務長官時代に作った「Our Ocean」という国際会議を、今年、島嶼国では初めてホストする。こうした背景からも、今年開催される第9回太平洋・島サミット(PALM9)では海洋科学分野での協力には大きな意味を持つと考えられる。



IDJ ENGLISH -Keidanren’s Request to the Government


Keidanren’s Request to the Government Promotion of strategic infrastructure exports

Editor-in-chief, International Development Journal Mitsuya Araki

$71 trillion global market of infrastructure investment
In March, the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) published a proposal to the Japanese government titled “Toward the Overseas Promotion of Strategic Infrastructure Systems (the 2020 edition).”
The main contents are;
(Ⅰ)promotion of overseas expansion of infrastructure systems based on environmental changes,
(Ⅱ) specific requests for overseas promotion of strategic infrastructure systems, and
(Ⅲ) priority areas in the with post-COVID-19 era
According to the report, the global infrastructure market is based on the assumption that it will expand further into the future. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that infrastructure investment in 2000-30 will total $71 trillion. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that Asia’s infrastructure needs from 2016 to 2030 will be $22.6 trillion (more than $1.5 trillion annually).
That would amount to $26 trillion (more than $1.7 trillion annually) if the amount needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change is included. The proposal states that Japan needs to strategically take in such a global infrastructure market in the future.
Regarding the environmental changes of infrastructure systems, it is pointed out as follows.
(1) The spread of COVID-19 worldwide has caused delays and interruptions in business.
(2) With the spread of COVID-19 infection, digital transformation (DX) is particularly important, and it is necessary to accelerate the DX efforts of infrastructure systems.
(3) As the sense of crisis over climate change increases worldwide, efforts to decarbonize are required to be strengthened. Japan is required to expand its green infrastructure system overseas by utilizing its unique and excellent environmental technology.
(4) With the Biden administration in the United States, which emphasizes international cooperation, restructuring of the international economic order is expected. With the aim of realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP)”, Japan needs to deepen inter-regional cooperative relationships through economic partnerships and pursue smooth movement and connectivity of global labor, goods, money and data.
4 requests to the government  
In December 2020, the government compiled a new strategy, ”the Infrastructure Systems Overseas Expansion Strategy 2025”, which looks ahead to the five years after 2021.It set an order target of 34 trillion yen for 2025, with (1) realizing economic growth by improving industrial competitiveness in response to carbon neutrality and digital transformation, (2) contributing to the achievement of the SDGs, and (3) promoting higher quality infrastructure overseas.
The government has so far bolstered the top sales by Prime Minister and bureaucrats and won overseas infrastructure projects.Furthermore, we have promoted the establishment of high-spec loans, yen loans, and the use of “Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP)”, expanded trade insurance such as the creation of a trade insurance scheme for institutional investors, and supported the overseas expansion of Japanese companies by developing rules for “higher quality infrastructure” and working on international standardization. Keidanren highly appreciates the government’s efforts.
Keidanren’s specific requests are as follows.
Firstly, responding to the challenges facing the world. (1) Strengthening measures against and supporting the infection of the new coronavirus, (2) promoting DX in infrastructure systems, (3) strengthening initiatives to develop green infrastructure, and (4) realizing FOIP.
Second, strengthening of the promotion system for winning projects. (1)Strengthening the control tower function and expanding budget measures, (2) further strengthening top sales, and (3) cooperation in third-country markets.
Thirdly, promotion of public measures through public-private partnerships. (1) Priority support for Operation & Maintenance (O&M). It is important to target not only advanced O&M using digital technology, but also O&M that meets the actual situation of host countries such as Africa. (2) strategic development of international standardization and international rule development, and (3) accelerating CORE JAPAN projects that co-create value in collaboration with local companies led by Japanese companies through public-private partnerships, (4) Strengthening support for promoting PPP, (5) strategically promoting human resource invitations, and (6) further promoting safety measures.
Fourthly, strengthening financial support, etc. (1) ODA (yen loan, grant aid, technical cooperation), (2) JICA overseas investment and loans, (3) JBIC investment and loans, (4) Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), (5) other independent administrative institutions, etc.
As for (5), in order to reduce the risk of overseas infrastructure projects and businesses and to further promote private investment, it is considered effective to expand investment by funds that utilize public funds. Indonesia, for example, plans to build a government infrastructure fund worth up to $15 billion.
Areas of Focus in the Corona Era
Finally, priority areas in the with / post COVID-19 era include (1) green infrastructure (environmental and energy infrastructure that contributes to decarbonization), (2) development of digital infrastructure, (3) promotion of smart cities, (4) health and medical infrastructure, and (5) infrastructure for living and social activity.
If there are private opinions to add these points, firstly, it is the role of the general trading company in Japan. Secondly, the role of the development consultant of the ODA system with excellent ability in the development plan making.
First of all, is it necessary to reconsider the role of a general trading company that can be involved in the information and trends of the development plan at the front line of developing countries. It might be said that it is not such a time now, but why not reconsider the role of general trading companies again?
Next, ODA-based development consulting companies’ ability can be deeply involved from the infrastructure planning stage. If ODA is to be used strategically, it will take some time, but it will need to be pushed forward from the comprehensive development planning stage. There is an opinion that the comprehensive development plan is not effective in terms of time and expense, but I think that it is effective as an approach to get involved in the other party’s and gain trust.
It is not easy to quickly get infrastructure projects without taking some time to gain trust of other parties. In other words, logical, technical, and human trust are the key to the overseas promotion of strategic infrastructure systems.
For many developing countries, the people in charge of development planning are super-elite bureaucrats with clear and theoretical brains who have studied at top universities in Europe and the US.However, they are administrative men who do not know the practice. Therefore, it is required that the cooperating partners have human resources who can talk about practice and theory in an orderly manner. However, there is still great concern about whether such human resources will be secured on the Japanese side. In that sense, Japan’s way for the future cannot be too optimistic.


羅針盤 経団連の政府への要望 戦略的インフラ輸出の促進
本誌主幹  荒木 光弥
第3、官民連携を通じた公的施策の推進。(1)O&Mへの重点支援(デジタル技術を活用した高度なO&Mのみならず、アフリカなどのホスト国の実情に合ったO&Mも対象にすることが重要としている)、(2)国際標準化や国際ルール整備の戦略的展開、(3)日本企業主導で現地企業と連携しながら価値を共創するCORE JAPANプロジェクトを官民連携で加速させる、(4)PPP促進に向けた支援強化、(5)人材招聘の戦略的推進、(6)安全対策の一層の推進。

IDJ ENGLISH Need for support to build a stable federal democracy

Need for support to build a stable federal democracy

Compromises with the military are unlikely, negotiations are still necessary

Professor Toshihiro Kudo,National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)

The military coup d’état in Myanmar on the first day of February shocked the world. In particular, the impact on Japan, which has been providing huge amounts of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and private investment is large. Professor Toshihiro Kudo of the Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), who specializes in Myanmar studies, speaks out on the background of the coup d’etat, perspectives for the future, and the role of Japan.
(Interviewer: Yukifumi Takeuchi. This interview was held on March 15, 2021)
The Source of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Power
–Why did the military coup take place?
In order to understand the background, it is necessary to look back at the history of the “transition to civilian rule ” which took place in 2011 from the former junta that had lasted 23 years. Until then, Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and student movement organizations had been thoroughly oppressed.
Conservatives, the military’s mainstream, had no intention of transferring power to Suu Kyi and tried to remove her, but were unable to easily do so.
Suu Kyi has two sources of power. One is her charismatic popularity amongst the public. The other is the influence on the international community, especially the United States. Reformists in the junta sometimes acted as intermediaries, discussing with Suu Kyi to strike a deal. After lifting her house arrest, Suu Kyi resumed her political activities. Then the military eventually began to say she had committed a violation of her promises, and they also strengthened restrictions and repeatedly put her under house arrest. What happened this time is almost same as before.
President Thein Sein , who was borne of the civil government transfer, had been the fourth in the ranks of the junta and was prime minister when it was controversial as to whether Myanmar should accept the international community’s relief during the cyclone of May, 2008. He realized the need for international cooperation after viewing the sites that had been severely damaged by the cyclone and turned into a reformist. After the retirement of General Than Shwe, who was the most powerful person in the military, Thein Sein was to take charge.
He knew that international sanctions would not be lifted unless he cooperated with Suu Kyi. In 2011, he started political reforms and allowed Suu Kyi to resume political activities. Along with this, investment from developed countries also flowed into the country, and while it was said to be “the last frontier in Asia”, the reforms were a great success.
However, in the 2015 general election, the military was disliked by the people and suffered a landslide defeat. As a result, Suu Kyi’s government was inaugurated, but there was no backing from the military reformists who protected her. Thein Sein, who invited her to the diarchic national political system stipulated by the 2008 Constitution, did not run in the 2015 general election. Shwe Mann, another one of Suu Kyi’s collaborators with a military background, lost the 2015 general election.
For the next five years, “the divorced couple” gradually lost their conversation instead of fighting and ended up being unable to speak to one another. Suu Kyi also seemed to defend the military on the Rohingya issue, but the military thought she condemned them.
The Panglong Conference aimed at peace-building with ethnic minorities and economic management did not appear to be done well. As the general election approached, Suu Kyi and the NLD criticized the military and used condescending language. After the Commander-in-Chief’s speech at the Panglong Conference, Suu Kyi and President Win Myint did not applaud, and they deepened their personal feud.
Even in the 2020 general election, Min Aung Hlaing was likely to have not been aware of inconvenient information. However, when the voting was opened, it was a big loss. Under the constitution, military personnel who hold a quarter of the seats are nominated directly by the commander-in-chief, but the name list of the lawmakers has not been submitted. However, Suu Kyi seems to have forced the opening of parliament and tried to move forward in various ways in the absence of the military personnel.
Meanwhile, Min Aung Hlaing was also scheduled to retire in July this year, so the timing could not be missed. In the long-lasting conflict, the relationship of trust that seemed to have been established through power sharing collapsed.
The Spreading Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)
—What are the future perspectives of the military?
The military had tried to show its ability to govern during the state of emergency for one-year or so. They would like to demonstrate better governance capabilities than the NLD in their measures against COVID-19, ceasefires with ethnic minorities, and economic policies that attract foreign capital. In the meantime, they would convict Suu Kyi and make it impossible for her to run election, weaken the NLD, and return to power by elections that favor the military.
However, a large-scale anti-government movement, including the civil disobedience movement (CDM), has occurred, and the scenario of the military is collapsing. If this situation continues, the economy will be paralyzed, and the people will be in dire straits.
Security has also deteriorated, and anti-junta sentiment is growing more and more. It is the young people from relatively poor areas who are mobilized into streets. Many say they are willing to fight to the death, and many young people have died after being shot. The military had crossed the redline.
The CDM was started by doctors. Many of them work for the Ministry of Health and public hospitals under the ministry, but they lack medical resources and have been working hard since last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coup d’état occurred when the pandemic became worst. Even if they abandon their patients in hospital, they are so angry to have to go to protest.
In addition, staff of Ministry of Railways also participate in CDM. There were a lot of golden parachutist from the military in the upper management of the ministry, and many are dissatisfied with such a situation.
On the other hand, the military will not give up easily either. Although there have been reports that many police and security officials are participating in the CDM, there have been no indications of a split in the military.
—How do you evaluate the results of economic development in the 10 years since the power transfer to the civilian government?
Infrastructure such as roads has been improved. Entering Myanmar from the Thai border, in the 1990s, the Burmese language was not used at all. But since the 2000s it has come to be quite popular. Locals say it has “changed from traditional Karen rule to central government rule.” Schools and government offices have been built even near the border, Myanmar flags have been raised. It seems that they have integrated the border area.
On the Rohingya issue, most of the Myanmar people said they were illegal immigrants and that they should leave, and they did not think that the military was causing problems, even if they did bad things. Suu Kyi is also a politician, so she didn’t speak out in support of the Rohingya. But now, some citizens, who have been repressed by the military, started to say “We were wrong. We want to apologize to the Rohingya.”
On the military’s behavior in ethnic minority areas, they said, “We didn’t know. Many young people realized that they were also the unconscious perpetrators.” It could also be a catalyst for a single Myanmar identity beyond different ethnic groups, religions, and regions.
Myanmar using China
—What do you think of China’s position?
This coup is not a happy scenario for China. Certainly, it had a very close relation with the military. But the quality of economic assistance has been low, and there were many failed Chinese projects. Recently, China has also learned how to invest foreign investment in Myanmar, drawing a plan for the “China-Myanmar Economic Corridor” in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Although anti-China sentiment intensified among Myanmar people during former Thein Sein’s administration, President Xi Jinping visited Myanmar last year to try to restart with the Suu Kyi government. There is a strong view that Myanmar is being mistreated by China, but Myanmar has also been using China recently.
―What do you think about Japan’s role?
It is necessary to put pressure on the military to stop their violence towards people. The military pointed to illegal elections as a cause for the coup, and they say they will set up a free and fair election again. This is very different from the military regime of the 1990s. However, it is impossible for the military to hold another general election because the people are very angry and opposed. So how about working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to support it, including holding a free and fair election?
After the renewed election organized by ASEAN, whoever wins or loses, the military has to return to the barracks, seceding from national politics. This is something unthinkable for many Myanmar people now. Nevertheless, I think we need to support Myanmar to create democracy with a stable federal system through negotiations with the military.
International Development Journal, 2021 May edition


安定した連邦制の民主主義築く支援を ―安定した連邦制の民主主義築く支援を
2月1日にミャンマーで起きた軍事クーデターは世界に大きな衝撃を与えた。中でも、巨額の政府開発援助(ODA)と民間投資を注ぎ込んできた日本の痛手は大きい。政変の背景と今後の見通し、さらに日本の役割について、ミャンマー研究を専門にする工藤年博・政策研究大学院大学(GRIPS)教授に聞いた。(聞き手:本誌編集委員・竹内 幸史)
背景を理解するには、23年間続いた旧軍政から2011年に「民政移管」が実現した経緯に遡る必要がある。それまでアウン サン スー チー氏や国民民主連盟(NLD)、学生運動組織は徹底的に弾圧されてきた。軍の主流である保守派は、スー チー氏に権限を移譲するつもりは全くなく、彼女を排除しようとしたが、なかなかできなかった。
スーチー氏には力の源泉が2つある。1つは国民の間でのカリスマ的な人気。もう1つは、国際社会、特に米国への影響力だ。軍政の中の改革派が仲介役になり、スー チー氏と話し合ってディールをした。自宅軟禁を解いては、やがて約束違反だと言い始め、また制限を強め、自宅軟禁を繰り返した。今回の動きも大きな意味ではその延長だ。
民政移管で生まれたテイン セイン大統領は軍政の序列4位で、08年5月のサイクロンの際、国際社会の救援を受け入れるかどうかもめた時の首相だ。甚大な被害を受けた現場を目の当たりにして国際協調の必要性を実感し、改革派に変わっていった。一番の権力者だったタン シュエ氏らが引退後、テイン セイン氏が仕切ることになった。彼はスー チー氏と協力しない限り、国際社会の制裁が解けないと分かっていた。11年から政治改革を進め、スー チー氏の政治活動再開も認めた。これに伴い、先進国からの投資も入り、「アジア最後のフロンティア」と言われ、改革は大成功した。
ところが、15年の総選挙で国軍は国民に嫌われ、大敗した。その結果、スー チー政権が発足したが、彼女を守る国軍改革派の後ろ盾もなくなった。そこから5年間、離婚する夫婦が喧嘩をするのではなく、徐々に話をしなくなり、最後は口もきかなくなるような状況になった。ロヒンギャ問題でも、スー チー氏は擁護しているように見えたが、軍から見れば非難されていると思っただろう。少数民族との和平を目指したパンロン会議も、経済運営もうまくできないと思われた。総選挙が近づくと、スー チー氏やNLDが軍を批判し、見下す言葉遣いもした。パンロン会議では司令官の演説後、スー チー氏らは拍手もせず、知らんぷりをして個人的確執も深めた。
20年の総選挙でも、フライン氏には都合のいい情報しか上ってこなかったのだろう。負けてもテイン セイン時代に戻る程度だと言われていたのではないか。ところが、ふたを開けたら、ぼろ負けだった。憲法の規定上、議席の4分の1を占める軍人議員は司令官から直接指名されるが、この議員名簿は未提出だった。しかし、スー チー氏は議会開会を強行し、軍人議員不在の中でいろいろ進めようとしたようだ。一方、フライン氏も今年7月で引退予定なので、タイミングを逃せない。長く続く対立関係の中、パワーシェアリングで成立したと思われた信頼関係は崩壊した。
国軍は、1年程度の非常事態宣言の間に自分たちの統治能力を見せようとしている。新型コロナウイルス対策、少数民族との停戦、外資を呼び込む経済政策などでNLDより優れた統治能力を見せたい。その間にスー チー氏に有罪判決を出して選挙に出られないようにし、NLDも解党するなど弱体化させ、国軍に有利な選挙をして政権を取り戻したいのだろう。
また、ロヒンギャ問題については大半のミャンマー人が「不法移民であり、出て行って当然だ」と言い、軍が悪いことをしても問題にしなかった。スー チー氏も政治家だから、ロヒンギャ寄りの発言をしない。だが今、国軍の弾圧を受けた市民の間に「自分らが間違っていた。ロヒンギャに謝りたい」という人もいる。少数民族地域で国軍がやってきたことについて、「自分たちは知らなかった。無自覚な自分たちも加害者だった」と気付いた若者も多い。民族や宗教、地域を越えて一つのミャンマー国民というものが誕生するきっかけになる可能性もある。
決して中国にとっては今回のクーデターはハッピーなシナリオでない。確かに軍政時代は非常に密接な関係にあったが、経済援助の質は低く、雲南省の事業など失敗ばかりしていた。最近では中国も対外投資の手法を学び、一帯一路の中で「中国ミャンマー経済回廊」の絵を描いて進めている。テインセイン政権時代、ミャンマー国民に反中感情が強まったが、習近平国家主席が昨年、訪緬してスー チー政権と仕切り直しを図った。中国にミャンマーがいじめられているとの見方が強いが、最近はミャンマーが中国を利用している。
『国際開発ジャーナル』 2021年5月号掲載記事


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