Anti-refugee Japan should refrain from playing the “Bengali Muslim card” against Myanmar

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Myanmar needs international support based on mutual friendship and without political strings attached. Hence, it is extremely unfortunate that the Foreign Minister of Japan, Taro Kono, involved himself in the internal affairs of Myanmar. Therefore, it was incumbent on Aung San Suu Kyi, a highly respected political figure, to remind him that the internal affairs of Myanmar are not based on external political posturing.

It is equally galling that Japan, a nation that does very little to help international refugees, is raising an important issue without having all the facts. This notably applies to mass Bengali Muslim migration, the role of Islamic terrorism, and a Bengali Muslim land grab that is happening in parts of Rakhine. Hence, a negative part of the body politic of Myanmar is based on the historical legacy of the British Empire and is continuing in modern times because of the neglect of Bangladesh. Indeed, the Chittagong Hill Tracts is losing its Buddhist and Hindu uniqueness based on mass Bengali Muslim migration to this part of Bangladesh. Also, in parts of India, including Assam, they face endless Bengali migration that is equally threatening the indigenous of this part of India just like in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh) and Rakhine (Myanmar).

Of course, it must be stated that Japan is far from open to taking in refugees despite the relative wealth of this nation. At the same time, with ARSA terrorists being embedded within Bengali Muslim civilian cells, then the indigenous Buddhists and various Tribal Groups fear fresh Islamist massacres if they re-enter Rakhine in huge numbers. Hence, would Japan take in non-Japanese migrants in vast numbers from a past foreign empire – and equally relish the destruction of indigenous Buddhism in the name of “fake humanitarianism?”

Kono said Japan would give “maximum assistance” to Myanmar in helping this nation solve the refugee crisis in Rakhine. He also stressed that Japan will provide economic assistance to refugees. However, for many indigenous Buddhists in Rakhine and various Tribal Groups, the Bengali Muslims are not refugees but illegal migrants. More alarming, the historical legacy of Buddhists and Hindus being swept asunder by Islamic invasions in this part of Asia – and the demographic card – means the future of indigenous Rakhine is at stake.

Aung San Suu Kyi responded, according to NHK, by stressing that Rakhine “is a broad issue.” More pointedly, while she acknowledged that reconciliation is extremely important, Aung San Suu Kyi gently reminded everyone that, it is up to the people of Myanmar to decide how to go about doing that.” 

If Kono is so focused on helping refugees then surely he should rebuke his own Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, based on the numbers of refugees that Japan takes in. For example, in 2017 Reuters reports, “Japan accepted just 28 refugees last year when a record number applied for asylum, a government document dated for release on Friday showed, throwing a spotlight on the nation’s reluctance to accept foreigners.”

In the same period that Japan took in so few refugees the nation of Germany gave asylum to over a quarter of a million people. Hence, with many North Koreans suffering, Tibetans facing endless Han Chinese migration, the people of West Papua facing Javanization, and so many problems throughout parts of Asia, then Japan remains closed to genuine refugees. Despite this, and the real threat of Islamic terrorism in Rakhine, the nation of Japan through Kono seeks to play the Bengali Muslim card and the refugee card despite Japan being anti-refugee.

Equally, while countless ethnic groups exist in Myanmar and linguistic values are maintained – in Japan many of the younger generation of Okinawans have forgotten their linguistic and cultural heritage. Also, it is noticeable that the indigenous Okinawans are paying a heavy price in relation to the vast majority of the armed forces of America being based in this part of the country – despite many locals being unhappy.

If Japan wants to boost economic and political ties with Myanmar then this is welcome by all interested parties. However, Japan should refrain from involving itself in the internal affairs of Myanmar.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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