RENGO Conducts Demands on Japanese Govt. Regarding Burma

24 July 2006
On June 28th, RENGO conducted its demand activity on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by General Secretary Nobuaki Koga. RENGO appealed to the ministry to urge the United Nations Security Council to take up the Burma issue and adopt a binding resolution.

General Secretary Koga, submitting the RENGO’S letter to Vice Minister Yachi. General Secretary Koga, submitting the RENGO’S letter to Vice Minister Yachi.
RENGO’s demand
The demands stated that the Japanese government should support placing the "Burma issue" on the UN Security Council’s official agenda and included the following points: Promote immediate dialogue among the government, the National League for Democracy, and other ethnic minorities as well as encourage national reconciliation. Immediately release NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners. Guarantee that all political parties may freely conduct political activities. Adopt a binding resolution that seeks guarantees for humanitarian assistance from the United Nations and international organizations for internally-displaced people and others in need. General Secretary Koga served the Ministry with RENGO’s demand statement while at the same time urging them that Japan must take the initiative to push the UN Security Council into taking a strong leadership role in the realization of democracy in Burma.

Government’s response
In response to RENGO’s demands, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi said that (the Japanese government) is concerned over democratization in Burma as well as human rights conditions in that nation. The Japanese government has appealed for an improvement in the situation but dissatisfaction is growing as no improvement appears to have been made. We have a growing awareness of the need for both dialogue and pressure. Naturally, setting the Burma issue on the agenda for the UN Security Council is one such choice. We feel that the "Burma issue" is an appropriate fit with the Security Council agenda. The UN has a variety of procedures and ways to handle matters and we will tenaciously work on whatever we need to do in order to achieve the most effective results for improvement of the human rights situation in Burma.

RENGO representatives countered Vice Minister Yachi's statement by stating that they want the government to respond to the situation while keeping in mind the great influence that Japan holds throughout the world and especially in Asia. To which Vice Minister Yachi replied that even when providing technical cooperation, Japan always seriously considers issues of human rights and maintains the principle that it should speak up when necessary.

Government-Labour Meeting
On July 3rd, RENGO held a Government-Labour Meeting at the Official Residence of Prime Minister where RENGO delivered its demands for urgent policy management and G8 Summit topics to Prime Minister Koizumi. RENGO President Tsuyoshi Takagi, Deputy President Yasuo Morikoshi and General Secretary Nobuaki Koga attended the meeting with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, Health, Labour and Welfare Minister Jiro Kawasaki, and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Jinen Nagase. At the meeting, President Takagi also demanded that the government work to put the "Burma issues" on the United Nations Security Council agenda.

Rengo’s Demand on ECOSOC
In response to the ICFTU and the meeting held in Turin, Italy by most representative organisations of Burma’s democratic opposition, RENGO met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 24th July, and handed a demand letter with Turin Conference Resolution and Declaration, requesting the Government to support the international initiative that UN ECOSOC be made fully aware of the highly critical situation of Burma at the forthcoming discussion on 26th July 2006.