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Military parade a possible window on Japan-Myanmar relationship

March 27, 2015 - MYANMAR

The 70th Armed Forces Day parade in Naypyidaw, which marks the 1945 uprising against the Japanese occupation of then-Burma, invites a look at the military-backed government's relations with its former foe.

The links have multiplied since Myanmar's leaders traded uniforms for suits. There might be enough at stake for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to join Myanmar President Thein Sein on the reviewing stand at the parade.

The Myanmar president, a former general, has won praise for the country's moves toward democracy and for opening up the economy. Deals for Japanese investment, debt forgiveness and aid have made Japan a major player in Myanmar. The Japanese and Myanmar leaders held a deal-making summit in Japan in December 2013. At stake is influence in Asia's last frontier market, according to Reuters. The news service notes that the Japanese pounced as Myanmar's leaders were looking for allies to blunt China's enormous influence.

How Japan Inc stole a march in Myanmar (Reuters 2 Oct 2012)

Burma Armed Forces Day parade (Guardian 27 Mar 2013)

Japan-Myanmar Summit Meeting (MOFA 15 Dec 2013)

Date written/update: 2015-02-02