Japan business lobbyist backs Myanmar coup, urges investment
TOKYO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - A Japanese former politician who campaigned to bring billions of dollars of investment from some of Japan’s top companies to Myanmar has urged Japan to endorse its military regime, saying the nation's coup leader has "grown fantastically as a human being," while praising his "democratisation efforts."
The 87-year-old former cabinet minister, Hideo Watanabe, is also pursuing a $42-million shopping mall investment in a tie-up with a firm linked to a sanctioned army conglomerate, according to a transcript of his remarks seen by Reuters and corporate filings.
Watanabe’s outspoken push for Japan’s re-engagement with the Myanmar military government stands in contrast with Tokyo’s official stance, which has cut new aid and called on the military to stop the violence. Japan has sought to balance its support for Myanmar democracy against its efforts to counter China’s influence there, officials and analysts have said.