MyanmarSoutheast Asia

Japan’s Defense Academy condemned for hosting military training to Myanmar cadets

National Defense Academy of Japan | Photo via Wikimedia

The Human Rights Watch is calling on the Japanese government to stop hosting cadets from the Myanmar military through the Defence Ministry’s study abroad programme. The calls follow the February 1 coup where Myanmar’s state military took over the civilian government and detained the democratically elected leaders.

The National Defense Academy of Japan is reportedly hosting eight military cadets from Myanmar for its programme with training in combat and arms.

Since the military took power on February 1, citizens of Japan have stood up along with Myanmar people during the anti-coup protests on the streets of Tokyo to condemn the coup.

The Asia program officer at Human Rights Watch, Teppei Kasai, says it’s “mind boggling” that Japan is providing military training to cadets from Myanmar following the coup.

“It’s mind boggling that Japan is providing military training to Myanmar cadets at the same time as its armed forces are committing crimes against humanity against Myanmar’s people… The Japanese government should immediately suspend the program and any other ties with Myanmar’s military.”

According to Kawasaki, Japan has been accepting cadets from Myanmar since 2015 under Article 100 of the Self-Defense Forces Act, which allows foreign nationals to be trained and educated in Defense Ministry facilities, including the academy, with the approval of the defence minister to show off its combat skills.

Human Rights Watch added that more than 1,300 people had been killed nationwide. Nearly 10,000 people have been arrested by junta military and police forces since February 1, with hundreds sent to prison and 75 individuals killed, including two children. Those killings, torture, and sexual violence on a large scale have all been recognised as crimes against humanity.

Today’s statement wrote that Japan should follow Australia, which suspended its military cooperation with Myanmar because of the military’s deadly crackdown on anti-coup protesters.

The Myanmar military carried out widespread atrocities against the ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine State in August 2017, two years after Japan’s training program began.

SOURCE: Human Rights Watch

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