30th April 2021

More and more “ordinary” people are being abducted by the regime. This coup is affecting everyone in the country, even non-revolutionary people, and public servants. They are silent heroes, each, and every one.

Dr Zaw Min Aye. The BFD.

Dr Zaw Min Aye, Medical Superintendent of Bhamo Hospital was found dead in the Staff Housing at 9 pm on April 30th. He was a member of the CDM and was charged under section 505 (A) the catchall for everything from treason to insulting the Junta. Before he was found he was threatened at gunpoint in an attempt to coerce him back to work. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Lapyae Oo. The BFD.

An 18-year-old youth, Lapyae Oo was abducted by the authorities from Mahabandoola road in downtown Yangon and taken to Latha police station.

Elizabeth. The BFD.

Elizabeth, a student at YUeco, was abducted by terrorists on April 29 in HtaukKyant.

NaingMinTun, YeHtutNaing & PaingSwanHtet. The BFD

The junta abducted 3 young people, NaingMinTun, YeHtutNaing & PaingSwanHtet by crashing into their cycles with private cars driven by the military on Apr 29. They have reportedly been taken to OhBo prison.

All the above are silent heroes, one and all.

Meanwhile, allegations are emerging that the Tatmadaw are up to their old tricks and recruiting children to serve in the armed forces.

Alleged child soldier, age estimated as being 16. The BFD.

Following on from yesterday, the queues at the few functioning ATMs are getting longer. Discontent is growing daily. And the economy is taking a hammering.

Still more queuing at the Kanbawza bank. The BFD

Japan is now looking at tightening the screws.

Referring to his meeting April 24 with Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders in Jakarta, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing said he would carefully consider suggestions from ASEAN on steps to end the turmoil, but only after the situation stabilizes — signalling the junta is unlikely to stop using force, receive an ASEAN envoy or hold dialogue with rival groups anytime soon.

Myanmar is a member of 10- Citing the general’s thinking, some scholars say the Myanmar military has been so preoccupied with beating its political enemy, detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, that it has no intention — at least for now — of listening to what foreign governments and the United Nations have to say.

“At this stage, there is a limit to what diplomatic efforts Japan and other countries can make to get the military to change course, as its immediate priority is not to lend an ear to what they say but to consolidate its grip on power by getting rid of NLD forces,” said Yoshihiro Nakanishi, a Myanmar expert at Kyoto University.

This has led analysts to suspect the junta may call an election without Suu Kyi and the NLD and that it believes that once a government that includes generals is elected, the international community would have no choice but to recognize it as a “democratic” entity.

Nakanishi, an associate professor of the university’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, said in an interview that the standoff between the junta and the National Unity Government, set up in opposition to military rule and led by Suu Kyi associates, may last for a year or longer.

Launched April 16 by NLD parliamentarians, anti-coup protest leaders and representatives of ethnic minority groups, the NUG is demanding that the junta immediately cease its violent crackdowns on demonstrators, release Suu Kyi and other detainees, and restore the democratically elected government.

Nevertheless, Nakanishi argues, factors such as economic paralysis and a full conflict with ethnic minority insurgents in border areas may propel the generals to change their mind.

In fact, the sharp contraction in the Myanmar economy — triggered by strikes by workers and civil servants, as well as the halt of aid by foreign donors and the suspension of trade and investment by foreign businesses — could create such a possibility.

Some analysts even say the crisis-hit country stands on the verge of becoming a failed state.

Before the military takeover, the World Bank had forecast Myanmar’s economy would expand 5.9 percent in 2021, but it now estimates the economy will shrink 10 percent, or up to 20% according to other experts. Similarly, the U.N. World Food Program estimates up to 3.4 million more people will go hungry in the next six months.

Citing recent remarks by Min Aung Hlaing, Nakanishi said, “The commander-in-chief appears concerned about economic development.”

“The military is now preoccupied with domestic affairs, but I suspect there will be a time when the international community can play a role in ending the crisis in Myanmar,” he said.

Under such circumstances, Japan, while keeping channels of communication open to the Tatmadaw, is considering halting ongoing official development assistance projects as part of international pressure on the generals.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Japan extended ODA totaling about 190 billion yen ($1.7 billion) to Myanmar in the year to March 2020, by far the largest contributor other than China, which does not disclose corresponding data.

In parliament, a group of nonpartisan lawmakers, led by Gen Nakatani, a former defense minister, is seeking to enact a law enabling the government to impose sanctions on foreign individuals and entities over human rights violations.

“Japan should apply pressure in concert with the West, but it can do so in a different mode and means,” Glosserman said in an email, suggesting that Tokyo persuade the generals while avoiding publicly humiliating the Tatmadaw.

Along with such a division of labor with the Western powers, former diplomats recommend that Japan deal with the Myanmar crisis in coordination with ASEAN, China and South Korea in the so-called ASEAN-plus-three framework.

The recommendation is part of policy proposals over Myanmar a group of former Japanese diplomats including Yasushi Akashi, a former U.N. undersecretary general, filed with the Foreign Ministry on April 23.

But skeptics warn that under the shadow of a great power rivalry between the United States and China, Japan must conduct careful diplomacy with China over Myanmar because of Beijing’s desire to boost its clout and gain access to the Indian Ocean via its strategically important neighbor as a major arms supplier, aid donor and trading partner.

Source Kyodo News April 30th, 2021.

Japan is in a position to exert great pressure on Myanmar. It is also one of a few nations that can co-ordinate ASEAN to stand up for once and put pressure back on China. This is an interesting development.

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Brought up in a far-left coal mining community and came to NZ when the opportunity arose. Made a career working for blue-chip companies both here and overseas. Developed a later career working on business...