Saturday morning papers reported that Foreign Minister Kono met with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw on Friday and pledged $3 million in aid for the Rohingya refugee crisis. The Japanese money will be used for repatriating the Muslim refugees from Bangladesh. Mainichi said Kono voiced concern about the Myanmar government’s handling of the Rohingya crisis.
In follow-up reports, Sunday papers wrote that Kono visited Islamic towns in western Myanmar on the Bangladesh border to witness the suffering of the Rohingya people. He told the press afterward that Japan is committed to providing continued support so that the Islamic residents can live peacefully again. Today’s Nikkei wrote that Kono visited Myanmar with the goal of curbing its dependence on China, noting that since Japan has been rather quiet about the Rohingya situation, it may face criticism from the U.S. and Europe for its soft approach to the Southeast Asian nation.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s Yomiuri wrote that Kono has been very active overseas since he was tapped as the nation’s top diplomat last August, noting that he is extremely interested in contributing to Middle East peace by capitalizing on his strong connections with regional leaders, including Jordanian King Abdullah, that he has built since studying at Georgetown University many years ago. He has already visited the region three times.